The goal of unifying the service is to cover a wider geographical area with a reduced and simple tariff system. The basic service fare will be Dh2 with an additional five fils per kilometre. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: In a bid to encourage residents to use public transport buses more frequently, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport in Abu Dhabi today announced the unification of the bus transportation service in the city and its suburbs.

The goal of unifying the service is to cover a wider geographical area with a reduced and simple tariff system. The basic service fare will be Dh2 with an additional five fils per kilometre.

The simplified and easy-to-use tariff system aims to enhance the experience of users of public transport services in Abu Dhabi.

This comes within the framework of the continuous efforts made by the ITC to encourage the use of mass transportation, meet the growing demand for public transport and enhance integration between its routes to provide more effective and efficient services.

ITC has also expanded the geographical scope of public transport permits to include the “basic service” in all regions of the emirate (not including cross-city services) and updated its tariff so that a bus card permit becomes effective from the date of purchase. There will be one permit worth Dh35 that will be issued for seven days; and another for Dh95 covering 30 days.

The sale of updated permits will be activated today, February 28.

The sale of permits that operate under the previous system would have stopped from February 27, and all previously issued permits will remain in effect until their validity expires within areas on the island only and will not cover the basic service.

ITC explained that users of public transport buses can switch between services without paying Dh2 a second time (boarding fee), and log on to the other services within 60 minutes of the last check-out and not switch in the opposite direction of the trip route, in addition to switching twice using a maximum of three buses, not including cross-country trips.

Switching conditions also apply when moving between the Abu Dhabi Link service and public transport bus services.

It was pointed out that when switching between buses, using more than one bus per trip, according to the binding requirements, the “Hafalat” smart card must be swiped when boarding and when getting off on the automatic payment machine at the bus gates in order for it to be counted as one trip.

Liable for fines

If the card is not swiped when getting off, the exchange system will not be applied and this will result in deducting the full amount of the bus trip fare used. It should be noted that failure to swipe the smart card when getting on and off when using all public transportation services exposes the user to public transportation fines.

The centre pointed out that limited-income national families who benefit from social support programmes affiliated with the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority or the Ministry of Community Development can obtain public transportation permits at subsidised prices.

The centre confirmed that the following will remain unchanged: Free annual permits for the elderly and people of determination, in addition to the annual permit for students worth Dh500, all of which will include the “basic service” for all regions of the emirate (services across cities are not inclusive), and transportation is free for those who are under the age of 10.

It noted that the number of passenger trips on public transport buses during the year 2023 amounted to more than 83 million. The total fleet of public transport buses in Abu Dhabi reached 825 at the end of last year, all of which have modern and advanced specifications, operate with better fuel efficiency and are environmentally sustainable.