Dubai: With news of the deregulation of petrol prices in the UAE starting next month, residents may resort to using public transportation to get around the city seeing it as a more feasible and cost-efficient option. But how developed is public transportation in Dubai and is it a viable mode of mobility to get around the city?

According to the Ministry of Energy, the new pricing policy, which will be linked to global prices, is aimed at supporting the national economy, lowering fuel consumption, protecting the environment and preserving national resources — the same dictums championed by the government to encourage residents to use public transportation.

Between 2005 and 2013, the number of people using public transportation rose by almost 300 per cent, reaching a total number of 531 million passengers in 2014, according to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The RTA has a number of upcoming projects that aim to both reduce congestions on Dubai roads and make public transportation more accessible to residents.

Dubai Metro is scheduled to lengthen by 15km and pass along seven new stations for Expo 2020. Metro carriages will also travel along a 4km underground rail. The RTA also recently announced plans to add the number of carriages using the red and green lines of the metro. Moreover, the green line will be extended to cover both Global Village and Academic City and the red line will be extended to Mirdif.

The Dubai Tram, officially launched in Nov 2014, is also scheduled to undergo its second and third phases of development. Presently the tram runs for 14.5km along Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina, Burj Al Arab and Mall of the Emirates. It interchanges with the Metro’s Jumeirah Lake Towers Station and Dubai Marina Station on the red line. Two more metro stations are expected to connect to the tram in the future.

The RTA’s public buses will also pass along five new areas in 2015, and an additional 11 by 2020. Bus trails will go through as many as 18 new routes, with another 41 scheduled to go through redevelopments.

In a bid to make hopping on and off different modes of public transportation, the RTA has also managed to connect metro, buses, taxis and marine transport at a number of locations through large and small hubs across the city. The biggest among these hubs is the Al Ghubaiba station which serves around 3 million passengers annually through buses, metro and marine transport.

The RTA also announced plans to build a unified transportation control room.

Dubai Taxi is also attempting to do its part of protecting the environment and lowering fuel consumption. Dubai’s fleet of hybrid taxis is set to expand significantly with 55 vehicles joining the existing 99, with 20 per cent of its fleet scheduled to convert to hybrid cars soon.