Abu Dhabi: All companies operating bus and other mass transport services in Abu Dhabi must now obtain a permit and ensure that vehicles are connected to an electronic tracking system at all times.
Bus drivers must also have a professional permit and operating companies should provide insurance cover for both drivers and passengers, the emirate’s public transport regulator, the Department of Municipalities and Transport’s Integrated Transport Regulator (ITC), announced today.
The updated regulations follow the implementation of executive regulations for passenger bus transport services in the emirate. The regulations aim to ensure passenger safety and control transport activities on rented buses, privately hired buses, tourist buses and public buses.
“The implementation of the regulation is part of the continuous efforts made by ITC to establish a safe and sustainable transport environment that continuously improves the quality of services provided to members of the society,” ITC said in a statement. ITC said the implementation of the new regulations will enhance passenger safety and protect operator rights. It is also expected to prevent the illegal transport of passengers and help decrease traffic incidents.
All services related to passenger transport by buses will be available on the Asateel Platform on its website. The platform includes a link to a tracking software and a central database that allows operators to know the location of vehicles at all times. This level of tracking also allows operators to streamline operations and monitor drivers’ compliance with traffic rules. In order to register on Asateel, operators must ensure that tracking devices and suitable air-conditioning are installed and operated on each vehicle.
There are no fees for obtaining any of the permits on Asateel, including operating licences for buses and professional driver permits. However, failure to adhere to regulations will result in fines and penalties, ITC said.
In addition, operating companies should provide insurance coverage for both drivers and passengers and maintain regular records of working hours and breaks. There should also be detailed maintenance schedules and records for designated stops.
Companies will have till September 15, 2022, to comply with the new regulations. Existing permits will be accepted until they expire, after which only Asateel-compliant permits will be granted.