x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

New Dubai-Sharjah buses fail to lift commuter gloom

Additional services not expected to reduce travel time or help congestion.

Dubai // Commuters travelling between Dubai and Sharjah say a new bus route will do little to help congestion and journey times. The E311 route, which was launched this weekend by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) between Al Qusais station in Dubai and Al Jubail station in Sharjah, brought 10 new buses onto the roads, four with a capacity of 28 passengers and four double-deckers capable of carrying 41 passengers.

However, passengers say traffic congestion is still a problem and more buses are needed. Ravi Choudhury, an Indian expatriate who lives in Sharjah and works in a shop in Dubai, said: "It's good to have this bus, but the traffic is still there and the journey takes a long time, especially seeing that it is the weekend." Mr Choudhury said that it took him more than an hour to get to al Qusais station from Al Taawun bridge area at weekends, and usually two and a half hours during rush hour.

Hani Hallab, a Syrian who lives in Al Qusais, said he feared the area would become more congested as more people move out of Dubai and into Sharjah to counter the rising cost of living. "Rent in Sharjah is much cheaper than Dubai and with everything that's going on in the financial markets and rising costs of food, I am better living somewhere cheaper and travelling into Dubai. More people will do this as the situation gets worse so we need more buses and better routes."

However, Mr Hallab, who travels to Sharjah to time with his relatives, said the new bus was preferable to the current choices. The bus "will save money on taking taxis and will be a lot more comfortable to travel on than other buses currently in service". The new bus service shuttles passengers through the busy Beirut Road area and Sharjah's Al Taawun Bridge area, before turning round and returning to the bus depot in Dubai.

Buses start at 4pm and will continue till 11.30pm, from Saturday to Thursday. On Fridays and official holidays, buses will be operated from 7am to 11.30pm at 20-minute intervals. Eisa al Dosari, the chief executive of RTA's Public Transport Agency said he was looking forward to "a clear improvement on the quality of service ... following the introduction of these buses". shafez@thenational.ae