Al Tayer: 77 per cent of respondents opt for scheme expansion to include other roads in Dubai
His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has announced the launch of Phase II of the Bus & Taxi Dedicated Lanes Scheme, which includes parts of Naif Road extending one kilometer and Al Ittihad Road extending one kilometer as well, to be carried out in the first half of 2011. He added that the launch of Phase II of the Scheme comes in response to the huge success seen by the initial phase. Surveys and studies conducted by the RTA covering more than 1,000 users and drivers of public buses and taxis showed that 77 per cent of them responded that they wished to have the project expanded to include other streets in Dubai. 75 per cent of respondents confirmed that the scheme would help shorten the journey time and 86 per cent of bus drivers expressed their satisfaction with the scheme stressing that it would help slash the journey time and boost public transport rider-ship.
Al Tayer added that RTA had surveyed a number of roads prior to the implementation of Phase II of the Bus & Taxi Dedicated Lanes Scheme that included a host of parameters, namely the traffic congestion, engineering capabilities of adding bus lanes, entry and exit points, parking spaces and their influence on activities in the area, bus routes and the analysis of feasibility study of public bus lanes together with their impact on traffic safety. He pointed out that the study concluded that qualified for this purpose were Naif Road in a sector extending one km from Al Musalla Road to Al Khaleej Road, and Al Ittihad Road in a sector of one km in the direction from Sharjah to Dubai starting from the entrance of Dubai Emirate and extends through Al Nahda intersection.
He added: “The bus and taxi dedicated lane will be integrated into Naif Road by eliminating the longitudinal parking spaces at the right side while maintaining the parking spaces at the left side. The removed parking spaces will be replaced by RTA’s multi-storey parking facility accommodating nearly 394 vehicles, where the current occupancy rate is not more than 70%. There are also parking spaces of car rental companies in the adjoining area. As for Al Ittihad Road, action will be taken to remove the existing concrete barriers placed in the direction from Sharjah to Al Nahda intersection, separating the main road from the service road, and blocking the traffic from Sharjah to Al Mamzar area. Here, traffic will be exclusively allowed for buses only”.
The Chairman of the Board and Executive Director indicated that Phase II would contribute to increasing the number of bus commuters in the two areas. There are nine public bus routes passing through Naif Road with a total of 36 buses in operation during peak hours. Running through Al Ittihad Road are seven public transport bus routes with a total number of 22 buses in operation during peak hours. The implementation of Phase II will contribute to enhancing the traffic safety on both roads. The study indicated that the bus dedicated lane on Naif Road would have positive bearing on the commercial movement in the area. As regard Al Ittihad Road, the study showed that the addition of the lane would reflect positively on the traffic safety and boost the operational efficiency of buses.
It is worth-mentioning that last May 2010 RTA implemented the initial phase of the Dedicated Bus & Taxi Lanes Scheme with a total length of about 5.6 km covering several areas including Al Mankhool Road (about 1400 meters from Al Satwa R/A up to Sheikh Rashid Road), Al Khaleej Road (about 3660 meters from Khalid bin Al Waleed Road Intersection up to Al Musalla Road opposite to Hyatt Regency Hotel), Khalid bin Al Waleed Road (about 220 meter from Al Mina Road Intersection up to Street 16), and Al Ghubaiba Road (about 320 meters from Al Mina Intersection up to Street 12). The selection of these areas was made following a comprehensive study that took into consideration the population density and the service of congested areas in Dubai Emirate.
The concept of the Scheme is based on dedicating a lane for the use of buses and taxis to ensure the timely arrival of buses to the bus stops. The dedicated lane is a successful global practice that helps motivate the inhabitants use public transport instead of private vehicles. The concept, which is being implemented in several American & European cities, aims at shortening the journey time, and accordingly lure community members to use public transport means.