A free shuttle bus service to and from Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi will be offered during Ramadan, a senior official announced yesterday. The service set to be launched on Saturday is meant for members of the public travelling by public buses.
Saeed Mohammad Al Hameli, general manager of the Public Bus Office at the Department of Transport, told a news conference that the department will also offer a free-of-charge ‘Park and Ride’ service between Zayed Sports City — which can accommodate up to 2,500 cars — and Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
A special public bus schedule for Ramadan has been drawn up with nine routes being operated within Abu Dhabi city and the surrounding suburbs going to and from Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque, as follows:
– 3 routes from Abu Dhabi City starting from 5 pm to 10pm:
• Route no. 32 (Marina - Maqta)
• Route no. 44 (Municipality - Umm Al Nar)
• Route no. 54 (Tourist Club Area – Umm Al Nar)
– Six routes from the suburbs of Abu Dhabi city starting from 5pm to 10pm:
• Route no. 202 (Al Shahama - Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque)
• Route no. 115 (Workers Village, Mussafah – Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque)
• Route no. 117 (Industrial City of Abu Dhabi – Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque)
• Route no. 102 (Mussafah station – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque)
• Route no. 400 (Baniyas west bus station – Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque)
• Route no. 500 (Al Mafraq Workers’ City – Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque)
– In addition to the free-of-charge ‘Park and Ride’ service between Zayed Sports City and Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Al Hameli said the shuttle service buses on the these dedicated routes will operate 5 to 10 minutes apart, while the shuttle link buses from Zayed Sports City will arrive 2 to 3 minutes apart.
“In accordance with the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan, we have developed a clear operational schedule in line with the timings and commuters’ needs during Ramadan, from different areas of the city to Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The free of charge ‘Park and Ride’ service will be available to minimise traffic congestion and limit the number of illegally parked vehicles in the area surrounding the mosque and on nearby roads,” Al Hameli said.
“Furthermore and based on the public request, the Department of Transport has decided to extend this free service until early morning prayers to enable those who wish to do ‘Qiam’ [late night prayers], during the last 10 days of Ramadan,” he added.
Iftar for 600,000 at Grand Mosque
As one of the most visited buildings in the UAE, the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque received 3.3 million visitors last year and more than 1.5 million visitors since the beginning of this year, said Yousuf Al Obaidli, director of the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre.
“The mosque will be offering free Iftar meals to up to 600,000 people during Ramadan, regardless of their nationality, religion or social status,” Al Obaidli added.
The mosque’s doors open for everyone to come and appreciate the splendour of the building, take a guided tour or simply visit to enjoy the tranquility and artistic splendour, he said.
9am to 8pm daily (except Friday mornings, when it is open only to worshippers)
What to wear
Modest conservative dress is required as the mosque is a place of worship.
Free guided tours for individuals and groups of up to ten persons are provided at 10am, 11am and at 5pm daily (except Friday mornings). Additional weekend tours (Friday afternoon and Saturday) are offered at 2pm and 8pm.