People wait for the Metro at BurJuman station. Various means of public transport in Dubai served 367.657 million passengers last year, an increase of more than 21 million on year. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The number of people using various modes of public transport in Dubai last year increased by more than 21 million compared to the overall commuter numbers in 2011. The figures indicate that, on average, more than a million commuters used public transport daily in 2012, a senior official from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said.

According to figures from the RTA statistics section, there has been an increase of six per cent in commuter numbers from 346.5 million in 2011. Various means of public transport in the emirate together served 367.657 million passengers in 2012, an increase of more than 21 million over the previous year. 2010 passenger figures were pegged at 323 million.

“The RTA is progressing in fast but solid steps towards achieving the objectives set out for it since inception, providing an integrated roads and transport system that ensures smooth traffic movement, achieving the highest safety levels for all system users, and enhancing the multi-modal integration of all mass transit means in Dubai emirate,” said Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of the RTA.

“The RTA has been endeavouring to provide mass transit systems to keep pace with the growth seen by the emirate, and make them the ideal mobility choice for the public under the context of realising one of the core objectives of the RTA vis-a-vis reducing the use of private vehicles and increasing the share of public transport from 13 per cent in 2006 to 30 per cent in 2030,” he added.

Based on RTA figures, Dubai Metro’s Red and Green Line transported 109.491 million passengers in 2012 compared to 69 million passengers in 2011. Around 300,000 commuters took the Metro daily from January until November last year, but that number touched 364,000 passengers by December.

Public buses also reported an increase in passenger numbers of more than 13 million, from 107.407 million in 2011 to 120.774 million passengers in 2012. For the marine transit system, the number of commuters decreased from 14.221 million passengers in 2011 to 13 million passengers in 2011. But Al Tayer attributed this drop to commuters choosing the Metro over abras.

Dubai Taxi, including the franchise companies, transported 137.39 million passengers in 2012 compared to just 124.72 million passengers in 2011. Taxis made 188,206 trips daily in 2012 serving around 376,000 passengers.

Al Tayer said the growth in the number of public transport users indicate that the Dubai government’s massive investments in upgrading the infrastructure of the transport sector have paid off. The increase also reflects an evolution in the culture of using public transport by various segments of the community, particularly since the launch of the Metro.