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30 November 2023

RTA: 450 million riders used public transport in 8 months, posting a 12% growth rate

By E247

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will celebrate both its 18th anniversary and the 14th Public Transport Day initiative. Themed (Gym on the Go), the event aims to promote physical fitness and encourage residents and visitors to use public transportation for timely arrivals and a relaxed journey.

His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said, “RTA’s efforts to develop a comprehensive transportation network has contributed to Dubai being one of the biggest urban economies worldwide. Such endeavours drive environmental sustainability and encourage residents to use public transit means, uplifting the share of mass transport in people’s mobility from 6% in 2006 to 20.61% in 2022.

“The Public Transport Day initiative succeeded in promoting Dubai’s efforts to protect the environment, achieve sustainable development, encourage residents to use public transport, and increase the number of public transport riders.

“In 2022, Dubai’s transport services, including the metro, tram, public buses, marine transport, taxis, and shared mobility options (e-hail, smart rentals, and Bus-on-Demand) served around 621.4 million riders, which translates to 1.7 million daily riders. In the first eight months of 2023, public transport ridership clocked 450 million passengers, marking a 12% rise compared to the 401 million ridership during the same period in 2022. Dubai Metro was the most popular mode, serving 167 million riders. Taxis, encompassing both Dubai Taxi and franchised company taxis, followed with 130 million users. Public buses lifted 111 million riders, marine transport ferried 11 million passengers, and Dubai Tram served 5.6 million passengers. Shared transportation means, including e-hail, smart rentals, and Bus-on-Demand, served about 26 million passengers,” commented Al Tayer. 

  • Integrated Network

Dubai boasts an interconnected public transport that has become the backbone of people’s mobility around the Emirate. It coaxed a change in the culture and attitudes of a broad spectrum of residents towards adopting public transport. 

Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council, as well as His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, RTA accomplished an array of mega projects costing about AED146 billion.

These notable projects are highlighted by Dubai Metro, the world’s longest driverless metro system stretching 89.3 km, the 11-km-long Dubai Tram, a modern fleet of 1,400 buses compatible with the European low carbon emission standards (Euro 6), and marine transport systems encompassing traditional Abras, ferries and water taxis. 

Additionally, RTA developed an extensive network of roads and bridges, ensuring quick arrival to destinations across all modes of transport. Between 2006 and 2022, the road network expanded from 8,715 lane-kilometres to 18,768 lane-kilometres, and the number of bridges and tunnels surged from 129 to 988. During the same period, the number of footbridges and subways (including Dubai Metro and Tram facilities) increased more than fourfold from 26 to 122. Likewise, the cycling lanes experienced exponential growth from 9 km to 543 km during the same period and will reach 833 km by 2026. Coastal areas like Jumeirah, Al Sufouh, and Marina will be connected to outer tracks at Al Qudra, Saih Al Salam, and Nad Al Sheba across Al Barsha, Dubai Hills, and Nad Al Sheba.

  • Sustainable Transport

Last May, RTA unveiled its ‘Zero-Emissions Public Transportation in Dubai 2050’ strategy, rendering it the first Middle Eastern entity to chart a long-term plan for achieving Net Zero emissions in public transportation by 2050. The initiative, which aims to mitigate climate change impacts and decrease the carbon footprint across all its operations, encompasses transforming 100% of public buses to electric and hydrogen-powered buses by 2050 and transforming taxis and limousines fully to electric or hydrogen-driven vehicles by 2040.

  • Smart Mobility

RTA is forging ahead with Dubai’s strategy for smart self-driving transport to transform 25% of all mobility journeys in Dubai into smart self-driving journeys by 2030. The initiative aims to transform transit means into a smart, unified, and user-friendly mode, considering smart mobility is a crucial pillar of smart cities.
RTA has already accomplished the preliminary stage of preparing digital maps to facilitate the operation of Cruise’s Origin autonomous vehicles. The step sets the stage for the service debut this year, 2023, positioning Dubai as the first city outside the United States to operate Cruise autonomous vehicles commercially. This year 5 Cruise autonomous vehicles dedicated to taxi and e-hail services will be introduced. The fleet will expand to 4,000 cars by 2030.

  • Digital Channels

RTA is a frontrunner in supporting Dubai’s digital transformation and leveraging the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies to enhance operational efficiency and customer service. It boasts 100% smart services, with digital channels witnessing remarkable growth in 2022 compared to the previous year regarding the number of transactions, users, and revenue generated. The number of digital transactions surged to 814 million in 2022 from 676 million in 2021, and the revenue stream grew to approximately 3.1 billion dirhams, a 10% increase from the previous year.
During the first half of 2023, RTA’s transactions via smart apps increased significantly to over 3 million—a 114% rise compared to the same period in 2022. Revenues from these innovative transactions also grew to AED377 million in the same period, marking a 25% increment from the same period in the previous year. 


  • Public Transport Day

Events of the 14th Public Transport Day initiative running from October 24th to November 8th under the theme ‘Gym on the Go’ that aims to reflect RTA’s commitment to promoting public health and physical fitness of the community. The event encompasses many sports, health activities, and exercises, among others. Among these activities is the GPS CANVAS interface, which promotes public transportation by encouraging participants to follow a specific route. Additionally, an interactive digital game has been launched for smartphones, fostering awareness about protecting endangered animals and minimising carbon footprints, besides honouring the most frequent public transportation users.