Abu Dhabi: Four new bus routes as well as four express bus services have been launched in the capital, the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT) has announced.
The express services include half the number of stops compared to the regular bus services along the routes in a bid to reduce commuters’ travel time by 30 per cent. At the same time, four new services have been launched to better connect different areas of the city.
Residents, however, told Gulf News the new services have actually made it more difficult for them to get around.
“I use the buses on a daily basis to travel to and from work. All of a sudden, last Wednesday, my regular bus service never made it to the stop; I reached work late. And when I asked around the next day, I found that only one bus service now travels to my workplace in Al Zahiyah area, even though there were at least four earlier,” said N.M., a 44-year-old nanny from Sri Lanka.
N.M. lives in a shared apartment on Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street, popularly known as Muroor Road. She added that the new bus network underserved the road.
“Most importantly, I wish there had been more awareness created about the new services before they were launched so that I could have been prepared,” she added.
According to a DoT statement, the express routes include X2 and X3, which travel from Al Khalidiya to Al Maqta, and X4 and X5 that cover areas between Al Zahiyah and Al Maqta.
On the other hand, the four new services include service 74 from Al Reem North to Al Rowdha, service 71 from Al Reem North to Marina Village, service 26 from the Marina to Khalifa Park and service 20 from the Marina to Al Rowdha. These have been introduced in response to public demand, especially as many residents now live in the comparatively newer apartments on Reem Island.
In addition to the new routes and services, the DoT has introduced new services connecting the city to Abu Dhabi International Airport, including A1 from Al Zahiyah passenger terminal, A2 from Al Dana on Khalifa Street, A10 from Dalma Mall in Mussaffah, A20 from Al Shahama area and A40 from Al Wathna.
Ateeq Al Mazroui, adviser to DoT chairman and head of the buses and water ferries teams, said the new routes should improve the travel experience for commuters, and allow for cost-effective transport options. In addition, the express routes in high-density areas of the city will allow residents to reach their destinations quickly.
N.S., 35, another Asian domestic worker, however, said it is now difficult for her to get to church.
“I go to church twice a week at least, but none of the new services go from my home on Sultan Bin Zayed the First to the church in Al Mushrif area. With a Dh2,000 salary, I cannot afford the taxi fare, which comes up to nearly Dh20 one way. So I haven’t been able to go to church,” N.S. said.
A new ‘hail and ride’ service has also been introduced as part of the new network to aid residents in Khalifa City. Five shuttles now run daily at one-hour intervals to transport residents from their homes to the main bus routes. The service is operational between 5am and 10pm, and aims to make public transport more convenient.
Al Mazroui said the new routes should enhance public transport as an option. DoT records show that there were 63.6 million passenger trips between January and October 2018, compared to 42.6 million during the same period in 2017, thus representing a 26 per cent increase.