The Dubai Metro remains the favourite mode of public transport Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: More than 35 mega projects are on hand to further increase the use of public transport means for the long term in Dubai, which clocked 531 million riders in 2014, up by 90 million from 2013, a senior official from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said.

Increased connectivity of the public transport network saw 531.350 million riders opting for public transport in 2014 compared to 440.672 million riders in 2013, according to RTA’s Statistics Section. The addition of the Dubai Tram added more than half a million ridership into the tally within just 50 days since its launch until the end of December.

This means all public transport like the Dubai Metro, Tram, buses, taxis and marine transport modes collectively lifted about 1.475 million people daily for 2014, which is 175 million more than the average daily ridership reported in 2013 and 475 million more than in 2012.

“The public transport network in Dubai, which is almost complete in terms of modes with the launch of the Dubai Tram on 11.11.2014, has become a key element in the mobility of people in various parts of the emirate of Dubai,” said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Chairman of the Board and Executive Director.

“RTA’s efforts in this regard contributed to the rising numbers of public transport means riders across the board.”

Al Tayer said the share of public transport in the mobility of people has increased from six per cent in 2006 to 14 per cent in 2014. But they aim to push it even further to as much as 20 per cent within five years as Dubai hosts the World Expo in 2020.

“There are more than 35 mega projects in hand highlighted by the designing and undertaking public transport means for the hosting of Expo 2020, including the extension of the Red Line of the Dubai Metro, upgrading roads and junctions leading to the site of the Expo, and procuring new trains to keep up with the sustained growth in the number of Metro users in the lead up to 2020 such that passengers can have better services.”

The Dubai Metro remains the favourite mode of transport, which lifted 164.307 million riders in 2014 compared with 137.759 million riders the year before and 109.491 million riders in 2012. Its average daily ridership last year exceeded 450,000 on regular days and the figure went past the half million mark during holidays.

The Red Line ridership has steadily grown for the past three years with 2014’s figures pegged at 104 million riders from 71.914 million in 2012.

The Green Line has almost doubled its ridership in three years from just 37.57 million riders in 2012 to 60.289 million riders in 2014.

“The RTA is proceeding with efforts to make public transport systems the first choice for people, be it citizens, residents or visitors, in their daily mobility to work, home or have a time out,” Al Tayer said.

Improvements in the water transport means are in the pipeline with the launch of the Dubai Water Canal linking Business Bay with the Arabian Gulf.

For the bus network, RTA plans to broaden its coverage to reach 16 new areas and improve services in 19 areas by 2020.

RTA said the public has begun to feel the benefits associated with the use of mass transit means such as the physical comfort, peace of mind, financial saving, high safety, lower expenses of car use in terms of fuel and maintenance, among others.