Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 August 2019

Abu Dhabi bus passengers left confused after sudden route changes

A number of routes have been altered and bus stops cancelled without prior notice

Residents say there was no announcement of changes to Abu Dhabi bus scheduling. Victor Besa / The National
Residents say there was no announcement of changes to Abu Dhabi bus scheduling. Victor Besa / The National

Passengers have found themselves on the wrong routes after sudden changes to many buses in Abu Dhabi.

Some have been changed and others cancelled. Passengers say they were not notified of any changes that came into effect on Friday.

It is not clear how many routes have been adjusted but a spokesman from the Department of Transport said that the website and app had been updated with the new information.

Passengers said the details of those changes were not passed on clearly in advance.

Aisha Sen, 31, a sales executive from India, would take the 67 bus from Al Zahiyah, where she lives, to her workplace on Reem Island every day.

“I have been checking the postings at the bus station every day,” Ms Sen said. “There was a notice that said routes would be changed but it did not say which bus numbers and which routes.”

She picked up a copy of the bus timetable from Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station for clarity.

“Bus 67 was still listed but when I waited to take it from Reem Island at 9pm, as I usually do, it never arrived,” Ms Sen said.

She said that the bus number was still listed on the noticeboard.

“When I went home my husband said, ‘Don’t worry, we will follow the 67 bus from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank on Salam Street to see which stops it is making now’,” Ms Sen said.

The couple discovered the bus no longer goes beyond Electra Street.

“I used to live on Electra and moved house specifically to be nearer to a bus 67 stop,” said Ms Sen, who has been using the Darb app to figure out the fastest way to get to work after the changes.

“Now I will have to walk for 15 minutes from Khalifa Complex to ADCB on Electra Street. I think it will take me about 20 minutes.”

She said she was fine with the exercise during winter but cannot imagine making the journey during the summer, particularly while fasting during Ramadan.

“I tried to find out better alternatives from the DOT website and the app but I couldn’t find anything more convenient,” she said.

Abdulrahman Al Sheikh, a student from Sudan, said he took his usual 63 bus on Saturday only to find himself kilometres from his destination.

“I was taking the bus from opposite Marina Square, where I live, to my sister’s house at the City of Lights building,” Mr Al Sheikh said. “I waited for the bus for about an hour but it never arrived.”

He decided to take another bus that usually goes to that area, only to find himself in the wrong place.

“I opened the map on the app and saw that it was taking a different much longer route than usual, so I got off,” said Mr Al Sheikh, 24.

He said the new routes were updated on the screens inside the bus but the routes have not appeared on the screen for so long that passengers stopped checking.

“I used to take the 130 bus to Abu Dhabi University ­every day,” Mr Al Sheikh said. “We are on holiday now so I do not know if the route has changed. I think I will go scouting the route before university starts on January 10.”

Jennifer Castro-Agostinho, a regular passenger, said she was surprised to discover that three of the buses she usually took to get home from work were cancelled without notice.

“I live in Khalifa City A and I take the bus after work from the bus terminal near Al Wahda Mall,” said the Australian. “On Sunday night I found out that they cancelled the 161, 162 and 163 buses, and now only 160 is running.”

Previously, there would be a bus to Khalifa City A every half an hour but when she went for her usual 7pm bus, Ms Castro-Agostinho had to wait until 7.30pm for the new service.

She said she was told that the 161, 162 and 163 buses have been replaced with mini buses, but has struggled to find information about the new services.

“We don’t know where they go,” Ms Castro-Agostinho said. “I was in Khalifa and saw one mini bus on one side and two mini buses on the other side and I had to ask where they were going.”

She said the new schedules have yet to be posted at the main bus terminal and that when she called the Department of Transport for clarity, the staff did not have the information she needed.

When contacted by The National, the department said the app and website had been updated and that they would be releasing information that explained the changes “in the coming period”.

Updated: December 26, 2018 11:13 AM