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Dubai moves to revitalise public transport and emergency services

Decree to open up the sector is aimed at attracting investment

Making waves
Image Credit: Javed Nawab/Gulf News Archive
A water bus and abra (water taxi) at the Dubai Creek near the Bur Dubai Abra Station.The RTA will still decide the courses of abras operating in the emirate’s waters.
Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai will allow the private sector to offer services in various fields that include ambulance services, public transport buses and abras, according to a resolution issued yesterday.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, issued resolutions to the effect yesterday. The resolutions are expected to boost the transport sector in the city and open up new investment avenues for the private sector.

A resolution on emergency services allows the issuance of permits to private companies working in the relevant field.

The concerned companies will provide ambulance and medical services for injured or sick individuals prior to their admission to the hospital and transport patients to hospitals. They will also offer training in the provision of these services.

Service improvement

The decision, officials hope, will improve the emergency services available to residents.

The resolution specifies the duties and jurisdictions of the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS), which is the sole body tasked with regulating ambulance services.

The DCAS will be responsible for specifying the conditions and technical standards that must be met by companies applying for a licence to provide ambulance services.

Another resolution on buses has empowered the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA)'s Public Transportation Agency's (PTA) to issue licenses to private companies interested in operating public buses and bus stations, and leasing public transportation utilities — if the concerned companies comply with the rules and regulations set by the agency.

However, the PTA will continue to be responsible for the planning and introduction of new routes within the city, as well as for trips from Dubai to other emirates. The PTA will set up necessary workshops for testing, maintaining and repairing RTA buses, as well as issuing licences for bus drivers.

According to a resolution on abras, the RTA will be in charge of leasing abra operations to interested private parties, provided they met certain criteria.

The RTA will decide the courses of abras operating in the emirate's waters in coordination with Dubai's maritime authorities, and also supervise abra maintenance stations and ports.

Anyone who does not have a licence will be prohibited from running abra services. The renewable licence will be valid for a year.

"The licensed party will be responsible for providing the abra with safety and maritime equipment, maintaining it and ensuring that the driver has the necessary qualifications."

They will also have to register the abra with Dubai Maritime Authorities, and will not be able to relinquish their licence to another party without prior approval from the RTA.

Smoking and promoting or selling products is forbidden on abras or any of their stations. The fee for using the motorised abra for tourism purposes will be Dh120 per hour, while the fee for traditional abras will be Dh60 per hour. Abra rides for non-tourism purposes will be Dh1 per passenger.

In the case of emergency services, the DCAS will issue renewable licences that are valid for one year, after registering them in its database. In order to ensure the quality of services, the resolution holds the DCAS responsible for supervising the activities of companies and workers in this field.

"Employees working in the field of ambulance services must have the required education qualifications, and should not have been convicted of [a] felony or misdemeanour involving crimes of moral turpitude or dishonesty," the resolution reads.

— With inputs from Mohammad Al Jaishi, Staff Reporter