x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

All aboard: Abu Dhabi residents taking more bus and taxi trips

Take our poll: Abu Dhabi's goal of unclogging its roads and having a third of all trips using public services takes a leap in 2012 in a new report by the Department of Transport.

The Department of Transport recorded 67 million bus trips in Abu Dhabi in 2012, a rise of 3 million in 2011. Srijita Chattopadhyay / The National
The Department of Transport recorded 67 million bus trips in Abu Dhabi in 2012, a rise of 3 million in 2011. Srijita Chattopadhyay / The National

ABU DHABI // The emirate's goal of decongesting its roads took a jump forward last year, with 67 million bus trips recorded – 3 million more than 2011.

This year the target is 70 million, to be aided by the number of peak-hour buses rising to 570 from 423 last year.

The Department of Transport today released its 2012 sustainability report, showing advances in its aim to have a third of all journeys taken on public transport by 2030.

"Public transport is being taken seriously by Abu Dhabi and we recognise its efforts to reduce congestion by providing access to parking," said Glenn Havinoviski, regional transport systems director at US traffic-management firm Iteris.

Greater use of buses and taxis and more parking meant fewer cars on the road, the report said, raising safety and decreasing pollution.

The report, Sustainability in Motion, stated that last year there were 263 fatalities on Abu Dhabi roads, compared with 334 in 2011.

Bus services have improved over the years with more routes and better signs. Last year the average number of public bus passengers per capita increased to 3.81 a month from the previous year's 2.95.

In 2012, taxis accounted for more than 63 million journeys, a rise of 2 million from 2011. There were 7,147 taxis operating in the emirate last year, about 70 more than the year before. This is an increase from just under 5,000 in 2010.

And the Mawaqif parking system covers 48 sectors, five more than first planned. The number of controlled parking spaces is expected to increase to 98,600 from 90,154 last year.

The Department of Transport operates ferry services between Abu Dhabi City and Delma Island, on which 87,175 journeys were made last year.

Other highlights in the report show 128,000 passengers used Abu Dhabi-based cruise services and 15 million travelled by air.

Abu Dhabi Ports received almost 9.4 million tonnes of shipments, and the airports handled 570,000 tonnes.

"This report was designed to show how Abu Dhabi is reducing its dependency on single-occupant vehicles and traditional truck transport from Dubai and other regions, and better managing its internal traffic and parking operations," said Mr Havinoviski.

"It emphasises the progress made in expanding public transport and taxi services, increasing controlled or paid parking, increasing the number of passengers using Abu Dhabi Airport, passenger ferry and cruise services."

The department has invested heavily on future infrastructure, including a light-rail metro service and the Etihad federal railway.

The Metro and Tram network is set to be operational by 2016 to 2017, and will cater for 823,000 commuters daily.

The project, to be managed directly by the department, will consist of 131 kilometres of metro rail. It is expected to further increase connectivity and accessibility for residents of Abu Dhabi and surrounding neighbourhoods, including Saadiyat and Yas islands and Al Raha Beach.

rruiz@thenational.ae