x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

RAK's suburban bus service to launch next month

Implementation the emirate's first local bus service is now "running smoothly" after a series of delays.

Vehicles that will be used by the new service at the taxi and bus station in Ras al Khaimah.
Vehicles that will be used by the new service at the taxi and bus station in Ras al Khaimah.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // The emirate's first local bus service will begin next month after a series of delays. Plans for the service were first announced in September 2008 but delayed until January last year, when it was put back again. A scheduled launch in May this year was postponed when the RAK Transport Authority (Rakta) said it did not have enough buses. "Since the paperwork was being shuffled between departments it took some time," said Jason Farhat, Rakta's director of commercial and investment affairs. "Now the process is going very smoothly."

The one-way fare, set at Dh5 for the proposed May launch, will now be Dh7. Mr Farhat attributed the increase to higher fuel prices. A taxi from Nakheel to Sha'am, the northernmost town, on the Oman border, costs Dh40. The service will include three 14-passenger buses running every 45 minutes from the Jumbo intersection in Nakheel to Sha'am via Khor Khwair and al Rams. The second and third routes, which will begin at a later date, will follow the airport road to the Fujairah border and the coastal road to Jazirat al Hamra. As many as 12 buses will be used. "We will start as a pilot test after Eid," Mr Farhat said.

Workers have had few options since Rakta stopped share taxis from running three years ago in favour of three private taxi companies. The extra expense has been hard on low-wage workers. While the services will travel through outlying areas, there are no plans to introduce buses within RAK city. azacharias@thenational.ae