The 18-seater buses will operate on flexible routes and schedules, and bus drivers can know the service demand through the app to reach the nearest point. Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA

Dubai: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai has launched a trial run of its ‘Bus on Demand’ initiative in Al Warqaa and Al Barsha, which will be free for three months during the trial period.

Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of RTA, launched the trial run in the presence of Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation.

‘Bus on Demand’ is one of RTA’s initiatives towards Dubai Future Accelerators and the Smart City to develop innovative solutions for the First and Last Mile challenges faced by public transport users.

Before the launch of this initiative, RTA had conducted site surveys and polls covering 1,750 people. The service targets three categories: workers (23 per cent), occupational specialists (15 per cent), and retail and services business (62 per cent).

The site survey was based on several parameters, including demography of service users, car ownership, mobility options, nearest public transport stations and stops, and preferred mobility choices, such as the walking distance and waiting time.

The RTA has also consulted the best global practices in this regard in countries like Spain, Germany, US, and Finland.

Ahmad Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency, briefed Al Tayer and Belhoul about the initiative, which will be offered through the smart app MVMAN.

“The 18-seater buses will operate on flexible routes and schedules, and bus drivers can know the service demand through the app to reach the nearest point to their destinations. RTA had entered the geographical data of Al Warqaa 3 and 4 and Al Barsha 1 and 2 in MVMANT app, which is available on Google Play and Apple Stores on mobile phones. Through the app, customers living at Al Warqaa and Al Barsha will be able to identify their locations and track the bus arrival times to their locations,” Bahrozyan said.

“The smart responsive system is to address the requests of public transport riders based on the idea of linking some places with mini public buses operating nearby their locations. They can avail the service through the smart app, which enables them to figure out their routes from the start point to destination point, choose their preferred seats, and pay fares. The service will be an innovative solution to the First and Last Mile between the homes of clients and the nearest public transport station.”

He said: “During the trial operation, we will assess the efficiency of the service in terms of accessibility to riders, response period, and the time of journey to the destination. A questionnaire will be provided at the Metro stations in those two selected areas to probe their needs, views and thoughts about the service before being activated in order to ensure that it will be up to their expectations of a smooth and secure transport.”

Belhoul said: “Dubai has set itself on a path to embracing ambitious initiatives, and continuously aims at presenting itself as a testbed for innovations that are the forefront of change. At the Dubai Future Foundation, we believe in the adoption of collaboration, by joining government and private sectors to solve current and future challenges.

“The solutions that the MVMANT’s Bus on Demand service brings to the table will help reinvent the transportation sector on the one hand, while bringing benefits to the economy as a whole. Furthermore, the successful outcome of RTA’s participation at Cohort 1 of the Dubai Future Accelerators programme is proof that the spirit of co-creation is indeed a vital and important part of innovation and ensures a more successful rate in creating impactful change.”