x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Capital's buses get hi-tech makeover

Abu Dhabi's buses will soon carry a host of hi-tech features hoped to attract more passengers.

Electronic signs and on-board cameras to counter vandalism are among hi-tech innovations for Abu Dhabi's bus service. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
Electronic signs and on-board cameras to counter vandalism are among hi-tech innovations for Abu Dhabi's bus service. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

ABU DHABI // As well as running dozens of new routes, Abu Dhabi's buses will soon carry a host of hi-tech features that the Department of Transport hopes will attract more passengers.

Electronic signs announcing bus arrival times will be installed at stops by the end of this year.

There will be more stops, too - 70 in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia by June and 10 more by 2013.

Cameras will be installed in buses and at stops, sending live video to a control centre to monitor bad behaviour or vandalism.

Staff watching the video streaming, which is expected to be in operation by next year, will first warn troublemakers that they are being watched, before calling police if the offending behaviour continues.

"The cameras will help us to protect passengers and know who is on the bus in case of an emergency," Saeed al Hameli, general manager of bus transportation at the Department of Transport, said.

He said that the cameras were needed because "there is a shortage in respect for buses. The country has spent millions on these buses."

Mr al Hameli said electronic doors at bus stops had been forced open, causing them to stick and overloading the booths' air-conditioning systems. New booths will have automatic doors.

Motorists also needed to be discouraged from parking at bus stops, causing needless delays. Fines would not be introduced for brief stops, Mr al Hameli said. "People should have enough manners to know that this is wrong."

Public perception of buses had to change, he said. "People judge buses based on the passengers; they don't look at the bus as a whole.

"But more Emiratis are using buses. There is a new habit now that they stop their car at Paris Gallery on Thursday and take the bus to Marina Mall."

osalem@thenational.ae