x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New bus depot and petrol station to be built in Khalifa City

The news comes as part of a spending plan set out by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, lending significant backing to an ongoing expansion of public transit in the emirate.

An artist's impression of how the new bus depot in Khalifa City A will look. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Executive Council
An artist's impression of how the new bus depot in Khalifa City A will look. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Executive Council

Abu Dhabi // Plans to build a main bus depot in Khalifa City A will be music to the ears of many residents.

It was announced yesterday as part of a spending plan set out by the Executive Council, lending significant backing to an ongoing expansion of public transit in the emirate.

The depot, which will accommodate about 480 buses, is expected to cost Dh175.8 million and will include a petrol station, car-washing facilities and a maintenance workshop.

It aims to improve public transport services to meet future demand, building on a major expansion of the bus system.

The council said the depot would  provide environmentally friendly facilities that would meet “the world’s highest standards”.

Although numerous routes have been added across Abu Dhabi island and between the city and Al Ain and Al Gharbia, public buses are scarce in Khalifa City, with an hourly service to central Abu Dhabi.

Majib Ibrahim has driven buses in Khalifa City for over a year.

“We need a bus station here,” he said. “When people have to wait outside it is not good.

“Some people complain because it is too hot and if they have to wait on the bus before we leave I cannot leave the AC on because it would be too long.”

Buses line up next to the Adnoc petrol station at the entrance to the city, with no facilities for passengers short of a timetable.

The petrol station, the only fuel stop in Khalifa City, is busy because it is near Airport Road.

“There is only one fuel pump and it is always very busy. There are always queues because many people pass through this area,” said Mohammed Ibrahim, who has lived in Khalifa City for nearly six years. “It is one of the things that needs to definitely change.”

The lack of transport has resulted in some people taking matters into their own hands.

“We have our own bus service because of this problem,” said Sunil Suresh Avachar, manager at the Geant supermarket. “We hire a rental bus for our employees to take them to and from the shop.

“If there was a better bus service we would not have to do it, but there are only a few bus stops and no shade and it is getting very hot now. This is essential for our employees.”

Many rely on taxis to move about. Asfandy Al Majid, a taxi driver, comes to Khalifa City frequently.

“There are a lot of taxis around here,” he said. “Many people use the call centre and order taxis to come for them. Many people wait too long for buses, so use taxis.”

Sulthan Hamid, manager of the Khalifa City Co-Op Society, said construction work was under way in front of his shop to expand the busy car park.

“Road access is not clear and it all leads to Abu Dhabi, but getting to Dubai is more difficult,” he said.

He agreed that better buses could ease the strain on the roads but said there were many other issues that should be tackled first.

“The number one priority for this place should be commercial activities. Khalifa B does not even have a small grocery,” he said.

“When you build a residential city, there has to be a plan for commercial activities. The buildings are all coming, and you can accommodate 60,000 to 80,000 people easily, but there are not enough shops.”

ksinclair@thenational.ae