Smart systems improve bus compliance with timetables, up performance, and reduce operational cost: Al Tayer



HE Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), stated that the spiraling use of smart & electronic systems in public transport & taxi sectors at the RTA has stepped up the integration of mass transit systems in Dubai. 

Narrating the positives of the systems, Al Tayer said: “It contributed to increasing the efficiency and generating savings in excess of 200 million dirham, increased bus compliance with timetables, and brought added happiness to customers. In 2014 bus compliance with on-time exiting of depots was as high as 99%, Dubai taxicabs covered about two billion kilometers, and the average time of dispatching a taxicab to customers was 13 minutes and 43 seconds.

“The Automated Vehicle Movement (AVM), designed at the highest global practices to provide bus monitoring & tracking in an area of about 83 million square meters contributed to enhance the communication between the Control Center and bus drivers, monitoring the movement of 1568 buses over 252 routes, increased the control of revenues, and reduced expenditure by more than AED200 million. It has also raised customers’ satisfaction rating from 68% in 2009 to 85% in 2014, and reduced customers complaints from 500 complaints in 2009 to 8 complaints in 2014. The system assisted in producing more than 46 reports of performance indicators, and carrying out periodic maintenance to buses.

The system is linked to seven smart technologies and apps such as the fare system (NOL), screens displaying real-time information about bus movement, journey planner (Wojhati) app, scheduling system, and the cost accounting system among others.

“In 2014, the number of public bus riders topped 135.5 million (compared with 115.67 million riders in 2014), and the daily ridership of buses clocked 371 thousand riders (compared with 321 thousand riders in 2013). Bus routes service accounted for the lion share in the total bus ridership accounting for 91.888 million riders, followed by metro stations feeder bus service accounting for 24.432 million riders, inter-city bus service which lifted 12.89 million riders, and the bus corporate rental service which served about 5.8 million riders,” explained Al Tayer.


“Last year taxis in Dubai (Dubai Taxi and franchise companies) have made 108.875 million trips serving more than 217.751 riders, covering 1,941.748 million kilometers; which is equivalent to circling the equator 48 thousand times. The number of calls picked up by the Booking & Dispatch Section amounted to 8.238 million calls of which 5.938 million calls were responded to by staffs of the Booking & Dispatch Center, and 2.299 million calls were responded to by the Interactive Voice Response system (IVR); which is equivalent to 42% of the total number of calls received by the Center. The number of bookings completed through the Smart Taxi app amounted to 52 thousand bookings,” stated Al Tayer.

Operation Control Center

The Bus Operation Control Center is fitted with 24 giant screens and the full Center has a capacity to deploy 22 staffs per shift, and currently 14 operators are on duty per shift. The Center has 27 employees and the Emiratization rate is 26%.

The Center works out timetables, conducts electronic monitoring of bus movement, and verifies the compliance with schedules, routes and timetables. It measures the daily bus movement, ensures the on-time bus departures & arrivals at stations, and acts appropriately to control the performance and enhance compliance with timetables. It also monitors the interfacing with RTA’s control centers and verifies the accuracy of the real-time passenger information system at metro stations through 620 screens dotting metro stations, bus stations, bus stops, airports and malls.


The Booking & Dispatch Section at the Transportation Systems Department, Public Transport Agency receives all taxi booking calls and arranges dispatches to Dubai Taxi and franchise companies applying specific parameters of place, speed and others in a specific time indicator. The system compiles & produces periodic reports in respect of all franchise companies about the extent of compliance & implementation of the franchise agreement in terms of the number of trips executed, deployment, response speed … etc. The Center also follows up complaints & suggestions received from customers for improving the service level, and responding to them periodically, besides analyzing them and submitting reports to the management in this regard.

The Center, which operates 24/7 on 3 shifts basis, has a capacity to engage 35 operators, 6 booking trackers, and 4 supervisors.