Dubai Metro Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Around 346 million rides using public transport were registered in Dubai last year, despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in reduced mass transit services, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Wednesday.

The RTA noted public transport is one of the fastest sectors to recover from COVID-19. Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, said: “The RTA implemented top international practices in tackling COVID-19 to nurture a safe and healthy environment for riders and staff of mass transit means.”

“Measures taken were based on three pillars, the first is to ensure the safety of all employees through fostering a sound and safe working environment. The second is to ensure RTA’s facilities and public transit means are free from COVID-19 hazards and third is to continue supporting Dubai government’s efforts in fighting the pandemic. For instance, the RTA has been keen to sanitise each train at the end of each journey, and carry out intensive sanitisation of the entire fleet and stations at the end of operations each day,” he added.

947,000 riders per day

On average, users of Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, public buses and marine transport, e-hail rides, smart rental vehicles and taxis have averaged around 947,000 riders per day in 2020.

Dubai Metro riders topped the list with 113.63 million riders in 2020 (74.455 million for the Red Line and 39.172 million riders for the Green Line). Shared transport, including e-hail and smart rental vehicles lifted 15.29 million riders, and Dubai taxis served 109.94 million riders. Dubai Tram served 3.65 million riders; public buses lifted 95.41 million riders and marine transit means ferried 8.05 million riders.

Preventive measures

Al Tayer noted the confidence in public transports was beause of the “efficiency and capability of the preventive measures introduced by RTA in all public transport means and facilities since the outbreak of the pandemic up to now.”

He added: “The precautionary measures taken by RTA were rewarded with an international recognition endorsing the efficiency of RTA’s Covid-19 measures from Norway’s DNV-GL firm, a premier global entity in the assessment of infection risk control programmes and the management of associated risks, including the performance of health and preventive measures.”

“RTA efforts contributed to the speedy recovery of the mass transit sector and the gradual boosting of the confidence of public transport riders in terms of health and preventive measures for protecting public transport riders and staffs as well as stations and facilities,” commented Al Tayer.

Comprehensive sanitisation

The RTA said it has been implementing a comprehensive sanitisation process for all modes of public transport and facilities to safeguard the public from infection risk. The precautionary measures being implemented include physical distancing on board Metro, Buses, Tram and marine vessels; wearing of face masks for all riders and staff; maintaining ridership at 70 per cent; limiting to three the number of riders in each taxi, including the driver, and scanning of all the staff before the start and after the end of each shift.