x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Buses get over a shaky start

The bus system to Yas Island worked well, in general, but there were some rough edges.

ABU DHABI // There is no trouble finding something to do in town this weekend, but you have to get there and back. The bus system to Yas Island worked well, in general, but there were some rough edges. The big problem came on Thursday night with significant traffic delays getting off Yas Island after the Beyoncé concert.

The situation last night was a little easier with improved signage on buses and a smaller crowd for the Jamiroquai show. Lucy Brown, in her 40s and from Toronto, said that while getting to Yas Island for Beyoncé on Thursday was painless, "we only experienced chaos when we left the island". She said it was a 20-25 minute walk to find a bus that was not crammed. "I found that while it got us there and to the event very well, there was no instruction getting back. People were getting on wrong buses, buses were going to wrong stops." Several changes were made yesterday to improve pedestrian traffic flow. A metal barrier separated the bus passengers heading towards the colour-coded parking zones from those heading to the three park-and-ride locations at Marina Mall, Shahama and Zayed Sport City.

The electronic signs on the buses now read Purple, Orange, Blue or Lime directing them to specific car parks as opposed to Gateway, which had confused a lot of passengers on Thursday. The improvements were noticeable, said Kelly Morkin, 28, a Canadian teacher, during the trip back to the car park. "Yesterday, our friends didn't get home until 12.40am; it was a nightmare," she said. Ms Morkin left the Jamiroquai concert last night early to beat the rush. "It's a lot better tonight now that they have the bars filtering you into a line."

Mark Robinson, 30, from the UK, said it took him only five minutes to find a bus. The previous day getting on to a bus had taken an hour and 40 minutes, he estimated. Srinivasan Santhanam, 26, who works at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, took the first shuttle bus to the Yas Marina Circuit, which left Marina Mall at 9.10am yesterday: "I came here by 8am, the timings were not there on the website." He was hoping to get to the circuit by 9am. "It's a good idea. It's not properly organised."

Over at Zayed Sport City, Munjid al Akhdar, 33, a Jordanian IT consultant, said the bus took about 45 minutes to get to Yas Island. Felipé, one of the staff running traffic co-ordination said: "Everything's OK, no problem at all. Bus drivers are free. I'm standing here, and a bus is leaving every 15 minutes. " mkwong@thenational.ae dbardsley@thenational.ae