Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

 Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has stopped issuing permits to new 14 seater minibuses which often cause deadly accidents, a senior official told Gulf News on Tuesday.

"We are preparing stringent rules and regulations to control them," said Masoud Mohammad Hashim, Director of Regulation, Licensing and Compliance Division at TransAD, the taxi regulatory authority in the emirate.

"We have not issued no-objection certificates to new 14 seater minibuses since June 2009 and we will only permit new such vehicles on the road after making the new regulations," he said. But the official said the authority is renewing the no-objection certificate of about 2,500 minibuses which were registered before June 2009.

"They are plying on several routes in the emirate, without the burden of any strict regulations, and they cause serious accidents," he said. "We are considering to make seatbelts mandatory for all passengers and reducing the number of seats from 14 to 9 to ensure safety."

The TransAD was given the mandate to issue the no-objection certificate for 14 seater minibuses last year, he said.

Earlier that authority was with the Traffic Police Department of Abu Dhabi Police which transferred it to Department of Transport (DoT), Hashim said.

The DoT delegated the authority to TransAD which has engaged a consultant to study all aspects of minibuses including demand from passengers, tariff, qualification required for drivers etc, he said.

"We are trying to finalise the new regulations within six months under the supervision of DoT', the official said.

An official from the Traffic Department of Abu Dhabi Police told Gulf News yesterday that three people died in accidents involving mini buses in 2008 in Abu Dhabi. "The nine accidents involving minibuses also left 18 people injured [moderate or minor injuries] and three others received serious injuries in the same year," he said.

In 2009, nine accidents involving minibuses were recorded without any deaths but 38 people were injured and two received serious injuries, the official said.

The TransAD official said the regulation on minibuses which run as sharing taxis all over the emirate has been a grey area. "The existing rules and regulations are not clear, so they are running everywhere in the emirate and making a lot of money," he explained.


  • 2,500 minibuses had renewal of no objection certificates
  • 9 minibus accidents were recorded in 2009
  • 38 people injured in minibus accidents in 2009

Demand: Taxi decision pending

The TransAD may consider permitting minibuses to run as sharing taxis in Al Gharbia (Western region), said Masoud Mohammad Hashim.

"That is under study… Al Gharbia has small villages…sharing taxis may be suitable for connecting those villages, but we have not taken a decision in this regard," he said.

He said TransAD is studying the future demand for taxis in Al Gharbia, based on several projects coming up in the region under Abu Dhabi 2030 plan .

At the moment about 127 old taxis are running in the region which is enough for the existing population, Hashim said.

"A single franchise has approached us to run all the 127 taxis [replacing old taxis]. We are even considering making new standards for existing taxis, but we have not taken a final decision. Because the region may need various types of taxis, like sharing taxis and minibuses etc", the official explained.

"We will take a decision upon completing our study," the official added.

Timeline - Minibus accidents in Abu Dhabi

January 13, 2010: An Indian was killed in a crash on the Musaffah road when a four-wheel drive crashed into the minivan

January 19, 2009: One woman died and six others were injured in a minibus accident on Emirates Road. The minibus, which was heading towards Abu Dhabi, skidded and turned over.

August 18, 2008: One person was killed and 19 others were injured when a truck hit a minibus from behind on Abu Dhabi-Ghwaifat highway

March 31, 2008: Fifteen people were injured, four of them seriously, in an accident when an exhausted minibus driver rammed his vehicle into a parked car on Dubai-Al Ain Highway.

July 14, 2005: One person was killed and 20 were injured in a crash involving the bus, a minibus, a truck carrying a crane, a pick-up and two cars, which happened at about 5.30pm on an Airport Road bridge close to the general directorate of Abu Dhabi Police

September 16, 1992: A five-year-old student died following a crash of the minibus in Abu Dhabi. Two students of the Abu Dhabi Indian School among those admitted with injuries are under observation.

Compiled by Gulf News Archives


 Accidents involving 14 seater mini-buses in Abu Dhabi
(2008 and 2009 statistics given by Abu Dhabi Traffic Police to Gulf News)


  • 9 accidents
  • 3 deaths
  • 18 people injured
  • 3 seriously injured


  • 9 accidents
  • No deaths
  • 38 people injured
  • Two people seriously injured

Should safety measures also be introduced for other vehicles? Do you have any suggestions on how to make minibuses safer?