There will be no public transport over the weekend in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: All modes of public transport in Abu Dhabi will be unavailable from 8pm today to 6am on Sunday, March 29, the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) has announced.

The suspension of buses and taxis is aimed at supporting national sterilisation efforts over the weekend, as announced by the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Interior.

During this time, vehicles will be sterilised and disinfected as the UAE works to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Already, the DMT has taken steps to ensure the safe use of public transport modes. It recently increased the number of buses and trips on high-demand routes during peak hours. A total of 36 new buses and 122 additional trips now serve 17 routes, in a bid to allow for social distancing even on buses.

Over the last month, the DMT had already added five services during morning peak hours, and four services during the evening peak, which helped reduce bus occupancy from 90 per cent to 60 per cent.

The authority clarified that additional trips and buses have been added on routes 7, 11, 22, 34, 40, 41, 42, 54, 55, 56, 63, 65, 67, 71, 94, X4 and X5.

In addition, adjacent seats are blocked off with red tape or belts to prevent passengers from sitting next to one another.

“Operating additional buses and increasing the number of trips will reduce the crowding of the public on buses and help passengers in maintaining social distances. The additional buses will also reduce the frequency of the buses and decrease the waiting times during peak hours,” the DMT said in a statement.

The DMT called upon commuters to be careful when using public transport, and not to leave their sneeze or cough uncovered in the direction of other passengers. In addition, those who are unwell should avoid using public buses in interest of public safety.

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the DMT itself ensures the extensive cleaning and sterilisation of all its vehicles and facility.