DUBAI // An expanded roads network, more Metro stations, buses that arrive on time and an exploration of Dubai's waterways are high on the city's transport agenda for the next five years, a special report by The National shows today.
It is exactly five years since the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) became the public transport provider for the emirate. Authorities want the public to join in the fifth anniversary and are offering unlimited free travel on the Metro, public buses and water buses today for Nol fare card holders.
That is only the start. The RTA has set an ambitious target of 30 per cent of the population using public transport in 2020, compared with the current 12 per cent. Building a strong integrated network of Metro, buses, taxis and boats is the focal point of plans to get people out of cars and on to public transport.
The numbers are remarkable. About 120,000 commuters use the Metro daily and 130,000 on weekends compared with about 40,000 after the launch of the driverless train system last September. Officials believe the daily figure will more than double once the new Green Line is ready next August.
The number of public buses has soared to almost 1,600 from 560 in 2005, ferrying 325,000 people daily within the city. Taxis pick up some 385,000 passengers a day, logging about 192,000 journeys.
Experts declined to name a single crowing achievement of the RTA over the past five years. Instead they recognised efforts to reduce congestion by pulling together varied transport options. Still, Dubai has some way to go. One mode of public transport from home to office is what residents are looking for. A strong transport link from end to end and better infrastructure in newer communities are on their wish lists.
Until that happens, vans will continue to take people to areas not easily reached by buses and the Metro. Looking at the next five years, the opinion is that now is the best time to take stock and plan future growth.