Mattar Al Tayer inspects one of the buses. He was briefed about the technical specifications of the buses by Ahmad Khalfan Al Suwaidi, executive director of Dubai Taxi Corporation. Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA

Dubai: WiFi, GIS mapping and surveillance cameras will be among a host of technologies on board school buses launched by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

RTA launched the school bus service recently, that will be operational from the upcoming academic year, with a batch of 50 buses.

The authority unveiled the buses that will be part of around 4,000 buses on the school run in Dubai, showcasing an array of technology and safety features they are equipped with.

Mattar Al Tayer, Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, along with senior officials inspected the buses after they were unveiled.

The buses are fitted with hydraulic suspension systems, enabling smooth entry and exit, remote tracking system through the Operations Control Centre and a navigation system compatible with the geographical addressing system of the Dubai Municipality branded Makani.

All buses will also be environment-friendly, thanks to their engines being compatible with Euro 4 and 5 specifications. The buses will also use clean diesel, which has a low emission rate, and low sulphur content of 50 ppm. The interior of the buses have deluxe finishing, noise-free environment, ample room and luxurious seats, offering added comfort to students.

“The bus is fitted with cutting-edge technologies such as surveillance cameras to ensure the security and safety of students in transit, text messaging services to inform parents of the safe arrival of their wards, a tracking system using GIS technology, and an optional WiFi service for interested academic institutions,” said Ahmad Khalfan Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of the Dubai Taxi Corporation, a subsidiary of RTA.

“School transport is one of the key public transport sectors in the world, lifting millions of students every day. Engaging the RTA in this activity aims at providing safe and smooth transport for all students of different ages, and playing a leading role in delivering brilliant, safe and high quality services to students in such a way that encourages parents to allow their children to be transported by public transit means instead of private vehicles. It will also support the UAE Education Strategy 2020, raising the bar for school transport, and striking a balance between supply and demand,” said Al Tayer.

Around 151,000 students, which is 60 per cent of the total pupils, use school buses in Dubai and the RTA is seeking to raise this proportion to 70 per cent soon.

Initially, RTA will launch 50 buses on the school run and plans to increase the number to 650 by 2024.