Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

New Abu Dhabi bus service welcomed by commuters

The quicker routes aim to speed up travel times and reduce congestion

Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. Victor Besa / The National
Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. Victor Besa / The National

Workers on low wages who live on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi have welcomed the news that four express bus services are to begin operating in the city.

Commuters said quicker transport links to and from the capital would prove a massive boost, substantially cutting their journey times.

Marriees Guzman said she had endured taking the often slow public bus every day since 2013.

But her first experience using the new express service on Tuesday morning saw her travel time cut by half.

Her route took her from the Mussafah road bus stop to the main bus station near Al Wahda Mall.

“I take the bus every day so this quicker new service is excellent as it makes it easier for commuter to move around,” said Ms Guzman, 43, a customer servicing cleric from the Philippines.

“It took me around 35 minutes when it usually it takes an hour. It’s usually very long.”

Announcing the four new express routes, the Department of Transport said buses would make half the number of stops compared to regular routes.

The services include X2 and X3 buses from Al Khalidiya to Al Maqta, and the X4 and X5 services from Al Zahiya to Al Maqta.

The routes come as part of efforts by authorities to improve the connectivity between different areas of Abu Dhabi, reducing travel time and cutting congestion.

Officials also hope quicker bus travel times will reduce the number of passengers opting use illegal, unlicenced taxi drivers.

Azhar Hussain, an IT consultant from Pakistan, said he took the bus every day from his home in Khalidiya to his work in Mazyad Mall.

“Yesterday was the first time for me on the express bus,” said the 44-year-old. “I took the X3 from Khalidiya to Muroor.

“The service seems great but it depends on how it runs. Many people don’t yet seem to know about it as I’ve heard lots of passengers saying they’d been confused because the numbers had changed.”

Von Deluna, a medical technician who was boarding the express bus for the first time on Wednesday, said he was looking forward to the “faster route”.

“I use the bus every day,” said the 32-year-old Filipino.

“I work in Bani Yas so I took the 402 bus from there to the Maqta bus stop and now I’ll take the X3 to Madinat Zayed.

“I know it will be faster because I know all the buses. Most two-digit buses stop at every bus stop so it takes so much time to get anywhere.

“The express service has far fewer stops so it’s much easier.”

According to government figures the number of people using public buses in Abu Dhabi increased by 26 per cent in the year between January 2017 and January 2018. Some 53.6 million passengers now use the services.

“These new services come as part of efforts to reduce the travel time between stations during peak hours,” said a spokesman for the Department of Transport.

“It will also reduce traffic, increase safety and reduce pollution.”

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Updated: January 3, 2019 10:12 AM

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