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Abu Dhabi to put 120 more buses on the road

The aim is to improve connections between the city and its suburbs.

ABU DHABI // Bus passengers in the capital made 64 million journeys last year - 10 per cent more than in 2010, officials said yesterday.

The emirate aims to have an extra 120 buses - in addition to the current 400 - operating by the end of the year. But this does not mean there will be new routes.

"We are operating 170 routes in Abu Dhabi," said Saeed Al Hameli, general manager of the bus division at the Department of Transport. "We try not to put new routes but instead improve the bus services."

Mr Al Hameli said the aim was to improve connections between the city and its suburbs.

Many challenges affect the service, which was launched in 2008. These include a lack of infrastructure, poor public perception, heavy dependence on private cars and the absence of data about passenger demographics.

Mr Al Hameli spoke at the launch of the third regional International Association of Public Transport Congress. Eighty public transport experts will gather for 14 sessions, with more than 50 papers being presented on the future of public transport in the region.

Abdullah Naser, head of the International Association of Public Transport's Mena regional office, praised Abu Dhabi's aim of developing a full public transport network, including bus lanes and a metro. By 2025, the association expects public transport's worldwide market share to double.

rruiz@thenational.ae

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