Seat occupancy in Dubai public buses clocked 41 per cent last year compared with 40 per cent in 2010.
“This rate is considered relatively high considering the lifetime of public transit systems in the emirate as bus- seat occupancy in countries that have a long history in public transport systems is 25% in Sweden, 30% in Finland, 32% in Japan and goes higher to hit 45% in the UK, 55% in Belgium, and 58% in Austria, for instance,” Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), said in a press statement.
“Public buses adherence to schedules soared from 17% in early 2008 to 77% in 2010 and went even higher to hit 80% in 2011, whereas this rate in countries like Singapore, which is one of the countries known for its high bus schedule adherence rate, is 83%.
“The geographical coverage of urban areas by public transport service kept moving upwards from 75% in 2011 to reach 80% in the first quarter of this year.
“The operational rate of bus fleet in the first quarter of this year recorded 92%, and adherence with preventive bus maintenance programs amounted to 97% whereas the targeted rate was 90%,” revealed Al Tayer.
“Initiatives rolled out by the RTA to upgrade the operational efficiency of the public bus fleet, augment revenues and rationalise expenditures have contributed to reducing the operational expenses in the first quarter of this year by as much as Dh16.29 million, while revenues were hiked by Dh3.27 million.
“The RTA has succeeded in posting high traffic safety rates in public bus operations as it managed to curb the number of accidents from 127 minor crashes in the first quarter of 2011 to about 90 minor crashes in the same period this year.
“This reduction is attributed to the huge attention paid by the RTA to training and qualifying bus drivers on coping with different road conditions, and the implementation of Offences and Fines Regulation to drivers flouting driving rules applicable in the UAE,” elaborated Al Tayer.
The Chairman of the Board and Executive Director reiterated RTA’s commitment to harness modern technology for serving mass transport commuters through improving the quality of services offered to passengers.
In this regard the RTA developed the Journey Planner (Wojhati) which is accessible through RTA portal (www.rta.ae) or via 10 touch screens mounted in a number of main stations.
Through these screens, passengers can plan their journeys on Dubai Metro, buses, water taxi or the water bus.
The program familiarises users with all schedules of mass transit modes and the user will have access to all public transport routes as well as the dedicated pedestrian pathways.
About 2050 electronic systems have been installed and operated on 683 buses over the past months of this year displaying the routes map, offering educative materials to the public, and informing passengers about the next stops, on the same lines used in the metro service.
In the first quarter of this year, the number of users of Wojhati exceeded 123 thousand users, and the RTA installed 88 monitors to display real-time schedules of buses in various areas including the metro stations and some bus stops.
The RTA has also launched Awselni program to serve employees of other entities, and Sharekni program to lift users of similar journeys in one vehicle through subscription on the dedicated webpage of the programme, and the total number of subscribers to the programme reached 16,000 in the first quarter of this year.
The RTA has also upgraded its website to satisfy the needs of users and achieve higher customers satisfaction rating.
Al Tayer stated that the number of marine transport users (Abra, water bus, water taxi and Ferry Dubai) in the first quarter of this year recorded 3.621 passengers lifted in 188 thousand journeys, and the number was anticipated to hit 15 million passengers by the end of this year.
He added that the number of Water Taxi users in the first quarter of this year shot up by 23% compared to the same period last year, and the number of Water Bus passengers showed a 5% growth in the same period, while the number of passengers using Ferry Dubai clocked 5 to 6 thousand passengers per month.