Dubai: Bus driver Rolando Timbol Abellera said the ‘Thanks to You’ campaign will motivate workers to go the extra mile in service.
The campaign has been launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, ahead of his accession anniversary on Friday.
It encourages showing gratitude and giving symbolic gifts to general labour employees who work tirelessly to improve residents’ lives.
Shaikh Mohammad previously highlighted the role of mothers and orphans and said they should be celebrated and honoured during earlier accession anniversaries.
The latest campaign highlights the role of gardeners, workers in hygiene and construction, and public transport vehicle drivers, house servants, and other related jobs.
Abellera is one of many such hard working employees keeping together the fabric of life in the city.
The 46-year-old Filipino driver says about 650 passengers depend on him to keep work and personal schedules on time — every working day. He drives a double-decker bus of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) from about 5am to around 3pm, six days a week. His usual stops are Bur Dubai, Karama, and Satwa.
Abellera’s intercity designation means he also transports passengers to Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah at times. Moreover, he is on occasions called in on special assignments, such as when a tourist group arrives over the weekend.
The father-of-one has been with the RTA for more than four years now.
“It takes tremendous patience to make eight to 10 trips daily, facing heavy traffic and some undisciplined drivers on the road,” Abellera said.
“For my ten-hour day shift, I keep my cool and do my duty as my responsibility is for my passengers to have a smooth and safe journey. I’ve to be on time; even before dawn people line up at the bus stops.
“The public bus is very important for people. Not everyone has a car or can afford taxis. Even people with cars sometimes prefer taking the bus, as they don’t have to worry about gas money or parking.
“And if they can’t take the metro, the bus is the best way to get around. It’s an alternate option for so many people in Dubai.”
Abellera lauded the ‘Thanks to You’ campaign, saying it feels good to be appreciated.
“Not every passenger says ‘thank you’ when they get off the bus. But it feels good to know that hard working people are being recognised for their role, I like the initiative. And I know many others feel the same about it, it’s motivating,” he said.
“Of course, I’d love for the RTA to increase drivers’ salary too,” he said half-jokingly.