Dubai: From trains and buses to waterbuses and taxis, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) monitors every movement of public transport through its ‘tech eye’ or Automated Vehicle Management (AVM) system.

Introduced a couple of years ago, the satellite supported system initially supported only Dubai Metro trains, but is now used to cover more modes of transports including buses, waterbuses and taxis.

The system will soon cover watertaxis as well.

Connecting the drivers directly with RTA’s Operation Control Centre (OCC), the system establishes direct communications with bus and waterbus drivers through three channels — voice communication, text messages and emergency contact.

“Each bus is being tracked to verify its on-time operation, and if for example a bus is ahead of its schedule or slightly delayed, the driver will receive a text message informing him accordingly. The system also displays on the driver’s monitor the scheduled route making it easier for the driver to remember the route and navigate,” said Adel Shakeri, Director of Transportation Systems, at the RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

With the drivers continually fed with proper information and officials having direct access to routes and movements of buses, the system has helped in improving bus networks, while also increasing the efficiency of the service.

“AVM has played a very important role in helping design bus routes according to actual requirements. The system provides information as to where there is more demand for buses and where not, which has allowed us to change bus routes accordingly and reduce dead kilometres, which in turn means routes are shorter and commuters spend less time on buses,” said Shakeri, who has been instrumental in implementing the system.

Since its implementation in 2009, AVM has helped reduce four million dead kilometres per month, which also means a massive reduction in environmental pollution.

Statistics recorded by the system for the period 2009-2011 indicate that bus adherence to timetables rocketed from 16 per cent to 80.5 per cent, and the number of cancelled trips plummeted from 13 per cent to 0.8 per cent, which resulted in a drastic fall in the number of complaints by customers from 500 to only four complaints filed per month.

“The AVM system monitors the efficiency and performance of public buses on both internal as well as intercity routes 24/7 through a dedicated staff. It has played a pivotal role in transforming the planned trips timetables into realistic schedules meeting the needs of public bus commuters,” he added.

Apart from helping in improving operation efficiency the system also helps commuters with accurate information about public transport routes, timings and schedules.

The system plays a crucial role in interfacing with other systems such as Nol Card system, and the Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) system.

It feeds accurate information to 114 RTPI monitors installed across all Metro stations, public bus stations and other spots, that displays real bus and metro timings and schedules.

Recently, RTA call centres have also been linked to the system which allows the customer care executives to provide accurate information about different buses and routes to customers. The information can be obtained by dialing the RTA’s toll free number 8009090.