Passengers board a bus on Electra street in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. The public transport network in Abu Dhabi has provided well over 57 million passenger trips this year and plans to scale that figure up to 76 million next year. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The public bus network in the capital is in for an ambitious expansion that will translate into 120 services and bus stops every 300 metres apart by the end of next year, a senior official said yesterday.

"The Abu Dhabi bus network will be expanded to 120 routes from the present 79 services and stops every 300 metres by the end of next year," said Saeed Al Hameli, general manager of the Bus Office at the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport.

Al Hameli said the public transport network in Abu Dhabi was getting more popular, providing 57 million passenger trips until the beginning of this month — transporting 157,000 passengers a day on average. "Planners envision making 76 million passenger trips next year to transport 210,000 passengers a day on average."

Al Hameli said the new routes planned in Abu Dhabi and its suburbs will ensure that bus stops are spaced just 200-300 metres apart in the city and 500-800 metres apart in the suburbs.

Routes extended

Al Hameli said that, following the re-opening of Al Salam Street, local bus services 006, 011, 044, and 056 would be rerouted to provide better coverage of Madinat Zayed and Al Baladiya areas. In view of road upgrades on Bainunah Street, bus services 008 and 009 had been rerouted in Al Bateen area and to Adnoc headquarters, he added.

He said more buses had been introduced on all routes to improve timings. Local bus services will continue to operate on a 24-hour basis, he added.

Bus services between Abu Dhabi island and the suburbs have been expanded significantly. The new areas served are Saadiyat Island, Zayed University, Masdar City, Khalifa City B, Al Raha Beach, Yas Island North, Al Bahya, Shahama Al Jadeeda, Al Falah, Al Shamkha South, Baniyas North, Al Najda Al Jadeeda, and Mussafah Workers City.

All regional bus services except 161 and 406 will continue to serve existing stops at Khalifa Street, Muroor Road, Bus Station, Airport Road and Zayed Sport City. Buses serving route 406 will not operate to Abu Dhabi downtown, but instead call a final halt at Al Marina via Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street.

Buses will connect Abu Dhabi with Saadiyat Island every 30 minutes to provide access to Manarat Saadiyat exhibition centre and the hotels there.

All bus services to the Northern and Eastern Suburbs will operate via Saadiyat Island Shaikh Khalifa Bridge and Highway. Bus services to Yas Island will be improved. Up to 13 buses per hour will stop at the new transfer stop ‘Yas Island ADDC'. At this stop, passengers may change buses to travel between suburbs where no direct service is available.

3-month trial run

A bus powered by natural gas will operate on a trial basis for three months on route number 5 as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, said Saeed Al Hameli, general manager of the Bus Office at the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT).

The bus, which has been specifically designed for use in the GCC countries, signals concerted efforts by DoT to reduce its carbon footprint and cut down on pollution from vehicle emissions across Abu Dhabi while also showcasing Abu Dhabi's vision to be recognised as a global capital city.

The DoT initiative aims to chalk out and implement strategies aimed at achieving zero emission levels in terms of traffic pollutants while acting in a proactive and responsible manner to ensure environment and transportation sustainability in Abu Dhabi.

The experiment will evaluate the use of CNG technologies to drive support for cleaner fuel and technologies for public transport in the emirate.