Rising numbers all around Image Credit: G.Munro, Gulf News

Dubai: The use of public transport in Dubai has dramatically increased with the launch of the integrated public transport system including the Dubai Metro and modern public buses, said a senior official.

"We are glad to reveal that public transport use has recorded a phenomenal growth from the six per cent earlier last year to 12 per cent this year and this is a big achievement as we aim to achieve a 30 per cent target by 2020," said Eisa Abdul Rahman Al Dossary, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Transport Agency (PTA) at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). He, along with directors of the PTA, briefed the media about the achievements of the public transport system in Dubai and the PTA's revised plans to cope with the future transport needs of the city.

He added the introduction of many services such as modern buses, feeder bus routes linking the Metro and buses, water buses, the journey planner, air-conditioned bus stations, and the use of modern operating system had given public transport in Dubai a shot in the arm.

"The lifestyle in Dubai has changed as an increasing number of people are switching over from private cars to public transport," added Al Dossary.

An average of 100,000 people use the Metro and around 130,000 use public buses every day.

"We are revising the bus routes to maximum the integration of the Metro and public buses and to make it easier for commuters to use the public transport," he added.

Although the use of public transport has increased in Dubai, Al Dossary still feels more can be accomplished.

The culture of public transportation is still weak, he said and urged commuters to use it as it offers benefits such as reducing traffic and environmental pollution and above all a safe and affordable journey.

Mohammad Al Hashemi, Director of the Transport Studies and Planning Department, said the punctuality rate of buses in Dubai increased to 60 per cent in May this year compared to 17.2 per cent in January this year since the introduction of the Operation Control Centre, the first of its kind in the Middle East installed to control bus operations.

Children's safety vital

School buses should follow safety rules or face fines because schoolchildren's safety cannot be compromised, a top official has warned.

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) last year introduced tough safety requirements for school buses in the wake of increased accidents involving children. The PTA has issued 452 fines from January to March this year for violating safety rules. "The fines were issued for violations including exceeding the maximum speed limit of 80km/h the absence of a bus conductor or not using the stop sign properly," said Eisa Abdul Rahman Al Dossary, CEO of the RTA's PTA. He said 95 per cent of the 154 private schools in Dubai had already modified their buses following the new rules.

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