x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Growing pains

It may not seem like it if you're jammed into one like a sardine in a can as it wends its way down Electra Street, but overcrowded buses are a good sign.

It may not seem like it if you're jammed into one like a sardine in a can as it wends its way down Electra Street, but overcrowded buses are a good sign. Before the buses, the only public transport option in Abu Dhabi was a taxi, and waiting 30 to 45 minutes for one was common. When you managed to hail one you were more than likely to be refused if your destination was not convenient, or you refused to pay an exorbitant fare. Buses made an instant and welcome difference.
Unfortunately, the increasing popularity of the city's buses is threatening to overwhelm the system. Commuters are now making the same complaints about buses that they once did about taxis: there are not enough of them. More buses are needed, certainly, but there is a limit to the number that can be put on the roads before they become log-jammed. Buses are most effective as part of an integrated public transport system, in concert with light rail and metro. These are coming, so be patient. Just like the bus, there'll be one along soon -