Dubai is among the cities in the world where commuters spent the least on public transportation as percentage of GDP, the emirate’s Roads and Transportation Authority (RTA) revealed.
“Our policy includes a low public transport fares policy, with only 7 per cent of GDP spent on public transportation. This is one of the lowest rates in the world, with only Bangkok and Cairo spending less on public transportation,” explained Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of RTA.
While the public transportation fare represents 4 per cent of GDP in Bangkok, it hits 6 per cent in Cairo. In New York, the same is 10 per cent, while 63 per cent is paid in fares in Rio de Janeiro.
The low-fare policy is part of a strategy to create a balance between public transport and private vehicles, explained Al Tayer. Salik fees, parking fees and the Nol card payment system also contribute to this strategy.
“These policies and others resulted in increasing the share of public transportation use from 6 per cent in 2006 to 14 per cent by mid-2014. We aim to reach a 20 per cent share by 2020,” he added.
Al Tayer shared several of his experiences along the years as a chairman of the RTA at a project management forum in Dubai.
“When we designed the metro and presented the plan to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, he said, “This is totally unacceptable. Because we are building a metro in the Middle East for the first time, we must have the best specifications and attract people. We have many 5-star facilities in Dubai; if the finishing of the stations is less than that, nobody will come to those stations’.”
At that time, Al Tayer looked at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj al Arab, and realised the task that was facing him, however, today Dubai Metro is considered a state-of-the art facility.
“We have accomplished a 100 per cent availability and 99.8 per cent punctuality of Metro services. The stations have a high-level finishing, and the network has air-conditioning and WiFi.”
Further, the integration of a public transportation network with the surrounding area is very important, he pointed out.
“Most of the land around the stations has increased in value with 14-50 per cent. It is very important for us to develop important projects around the stations, and we have to connect to all other modes of transport.”
Over the past nine years, RTA has delivered projects with a total value of almost Dh73.5 billion, and runs around 250 projects at any given time.
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