Dubai: Dubai's bus service is one of the most reliable in the world, according to a senior Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official.

The punctuality rate has jumped to 80 per cent — quite an achievement considering it was only 19 per cent in 2009.

"What we have achieved in two years is not possible for other cities to do even in 50 years. Our punctuality rate is among the best in the world and we want to improve it further so that more and more people use public transport," said Adel Shakeri, director of the Transportation System Department at RTA's Public Transport Agency.

The rate was achieved with the help of new technology that monitors the movement of buses every second. The technology determines whether a bus is on time, late or early. It also allows officers in RTA's Operations Control Centre to interact with drivers directly.

The Automated Vehicle Management system or AVM was installed in 2009 and since then the reliability of buses has improved, by 60 per cent in 2010, 70 per cent last year and this year the punctuality rate touched 80 per cent. However, Shakeri says it is not AVM alone that has helped achieve the target.

"Since we have had AVM we have only moved forward but along with the technology we also work on our statistics and try to improve further. We also continuously train our drivers to enhance their performance, and another important aspect that has led to the good result is our direct interaction with drivers, which keeps them focused," added Shakeri.

The increasing reliability of buses is also reflected in a sharp decline in complaints from passengers from 500 per month a couple of years ago to eight per month currently.

Complaints used to be largely about buses being late, but with the new system making sure buses are on time, the complaints have drastically come down, Shakeri said.

  • 19%:bus service punctuality rate in 2009
  • 80%: bus service punctuality rate in 2012