special lane dedicated for public buses and taxis near Al Ghubaiba bus station in Bur Dubai. A senior RTA official said that the bus priority lanes have improved the efficiency of bus arrivals as well as reduced CO2 emissions. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: In a massive expansion of the dedicated bus and taxi lanes network in Dubai, 30km of bus and taxi lanes will be added to some of the busiest areas in the city next year, Gulf News has learned.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has earmarked 10 routes inside Central Business Districts of the city as well as in some of the new developments.

The expansion comes following the success of the existing 10km of dedicated bus and taxi lanes, improving the efficiency of buses and saving considerable time for passengers.

“We have identified 50 locations across Dubai that could potentially have bus priority lanes out of which we have selected 10 for phase three, which will be completed in 2015,” said Yousuf Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency that operates buses and taxis.

He added that the 10 routes will be spread across 30 kilometres of bus corridors in different areas of Dubai, particularly in Bur Dubai and Deira.

“We are mainly focusing on the busy areas of Dubai like Bur Dubai and Deira, but we have also identified some of the busy locations outside the Central Business Districts and we will announce the routes once we finalise the project,” Al Ali said.

Dedicated bus and taxi lanes were introduced on Dubai roads in 2010 spreading across Khalid Bin Waleed road, Al Khaleej Road, Al Mankhool Street and Naif Road.

In the next phase, in 2011, dedicated bus lanes were added on Al Ittihad Road and, in 2012, another lane was added on Al Mina street as part of the same phase.

Al Ali said that PTA has developed a criteria for selecting potential locations that support the strategic goals of the agency and the transport strategy for Dubai 2020.

The criteria take into account customer needs and perception, while also considering current demand for the service, expected growth of a particular area, current traffic conditions and the resources currently deployed in the corridor

Al Ali noted that the bus priority lanes have so far helped in improving the efficiency of bus arrivals as well as reducing CO2 emissions.

RTA studies reveal that each bus running on a dedicated bus lane reduces 50 cars on the roads, while it also moves five to 11 minutes faster than the cars on roads that have bus lanes.

Recently, RTA, in cooperation with Dubai Police, decided to step up surveillance at all dedicated bus lanes to check violations by other motorists.

Motorists are slapped with a Dh600 fine for driving in bus and taxi lanes.