Dubai/Sharjah: Residents are bracing for monster traffic jams on Sunday when tens of thousands of students return to schools after the long summer break.
Motorists said they will make a head start to beat the morning rush hour on certain roads which are reduced to a crawl because of the sudden surge in traffic caused by the reopening of schools. “For the past two months, I have been leaving my home on Al Wahda Street in Sharjah at 7.30am to reach my office in Jebel Ali by 8.30am,” said Indian expat Rehan Malik. “But I can’t afford that luxury anymore and will have to start at 6.45am, perhaps even earlier,” he said. Similarly, another Sharjah resident, Gamal Mohammad, is hoping to give himself a leeway of at least one-and-a-half hours to reach his workplace in Dubai Media City.
Time is of the essence
“I can’t take any chances,” said the Egyptian engineer who lives in Al Majaz 1. “Experience has taught me that even a 10-minute delay could be crucial. If I start at 6am, it would not take me more than 10 minutes to cross Al Mamzar toll gate. But if I leave any later, the same stretch could take up to 40 minutes,” he explained.
In Dubai, traffic snarls are expected in Discovery Gardens, Motor City, Sports City, Silicon Oasis, Jumeirah Village Circle and Al Garhoud which is home to many schools.
“I will have to reset my alarm clock to wake up early,” said Silicon Oasis resident who works for a real estate company in Deira.
9is the number of working days Dubai commuters spent stuck in traffic in 2018, according to a global study by international transport consultancy Inrix
However, there is no such worries for federal government employees as they have been allowed to take up to three hours off work in the first week of the school year. The move is designed to allow parents to arrive at work late or leave early so that they could drop their wards off at school or pick them up at the end of the day. Over 28,000 parents working in the government with more than 90,000 children are likely to benefit from the Back to School Policy launched last year by the federal government, upon the recommendation of the National Programme for Happiness and Well-being, in coordination with Federal Authority for Government Human Resources
Meanwhile Dubai Police have rolled out a campaign called ‘A Day Without Accident’ where motorists are urged to take an online pledge they would drive safe to ensure accident free day on September 1.
Those who take the pledge could enjoy a 50 per cent discount on confiscation fees and black points if they keep their promise.
Colonel Faisal Al Qasim, Director of the Security Media Department at Dubai Police, said they are looking to have zero accidents especially in the first week of school.
“We know it is a challenge to have zero accidents in one day,” he said. “But we are keen to achieve it with our partners and the society. We want to educate the drivers by making them sign the obligation letter and then honour the ones who keep their promise.”
Traffic trouble spots
In Sharjah, traffic bottlenecks are expected in the neighbourhoods of Al Khan, Al Tawwun, Al Nahda and on Street S106 near Safeer Mall where the road out into a free right and a U-turn. Motorists using Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (E11) and Beirut and Damascus Streets in Al Ghusais also remain gridlocked during peak hours
79was the rank of Dubai in the list of congested cities out of 220 surveyed in a study
But it’s in the school zone area in Muweilah which faces the worst congestion.
A schoolteacher said the place transforms into a ‘war zone’ with hundreds of school bus drivers and motorists fighting for every inch.
“To avoid the maddening chaos, our school bus driver often takes a bumpy dirt road which leaves us all shaken and rattled,” she said.
Last Thursday, Sharjah issued an administrative decision to regulate school transport in the emirate. As part of move, Sharjah’s Roads and Transport Authority will issue permits and set greater conditions and controls for bus traffic on roads. In accordance with the administrative decision, school transport activity can now be practised only by operators authorised to provide service from the Roads and Transport Authority.
is the number of working days Dubai commuters spent stuck in traffic in 2018, according to a global study by international transport consultancy Inrix was the rank of Dubai in the list of congested cities out of 220 surveyed in a study