Passengers make use of the Wi-Fi facility in a bus operating between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Commuters here can enjoy free WiFi in Abu Dhabi’s public buses from Sunday onwards, transport officials said.

The services are being offered by transport sector regulator, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), in partnership with the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) as part of a plan to enhance public transport in the emirate.

In the first phase, 10 buses on popular routes have been equipped with WiFi infrastructure, said Ali Al Jauidi, acting director for technical infrastructure at the ITC.

“By March 2020, all 520 buses will have free WiFi, along with Abu Dhabi’s air-conditioned bus shelters and stations,” the official said.

“Our aim is to have more commuters opt for public transport, which will, in turn, promote a sustainable economy and reduce environmental impact. At the same time, we will gain an idea of just how many people regularly use buses based on WiFi log-ins, and this will help us plan our routes and services better,” Al Juaidi added.

Media representatives were given a tour of the first bus equipped with WiFi. A sticker affixed to the window showed the presence of a WiFi in an otherwise-regular regular public bus.

To activate the WiFi, passengers need to provide their phone number and email address, and then submit the one-time password. Passengers must also register in this manner every time they board a bus in order to use the free connectivity services.

Public transport enhancement

Al Juaidi added that the ITC is working to enhance the entire puclic transport experience in Abu Dhabi.

“New bus shelters are being built across the emirate, smaller buses have been introduced to better connect residential neighbourhoods, and the fleet size is being expanded. We hope these enhancements will encourage residents to make the switch to public transport,” he said.

The enhancements are also being rolled out ahead of the implementation of road tolls in the capital on October 15, another move which is expected to make private transport options more expensive.

Routes with free WiFi

Route 43 from Corniche Hospital to Al Mushrif Mall (via Corniche Street, Electra Street, Qasr Al Hosm, Airport Road, Al Falah Street, Al Karama Street and Mushrif area)

Route 41 connecting the Corniche Hospital to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (via Hamdan Street, Airport Road, the Pepsi Factory, and the Zayed Military Hospital)

Route A1 connecting the Abu Dhabi Airport City Terminal to Abu Dhabi International Airport.