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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

RTA works on more efficient transportation to Dubai schools 

The authority is looking to implement a number of new measures to ensure more efficient use of school transport

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority is studying a number of new measures to ensure more efficient transportation to schools, including staggering working hours or offering flexi hours to staff.

“Through the study for managing the demand on transport, the RTA is currently studying introducing flexi-working hours and staggering the working hours and school hours,” said Mattar Al Tayer, the authority’s director general.

“[We] intend to review the technical specifications of school buses to raise the efficiency and safety levels, and study the current working models of school transport to bring them in line with global standards. Such endeavours would contribute to raising school transport efficiency, and significantly reducing the number of required school buses in order to ease traffic snarls leading to schools and surrounding areas.”

He said the RTA intended to conduct a study to come up with solutions and guidelines related to the distribution of schools and their integration within the roads and transport network, in addition to surveying school areas and figuring out traffic solutions.

Some school leaders say that only a very small percentage of their pupils use the bus to get to class.

“For those that do need it, it is a very safe and reliable service,” said Brendon Fulton, principal of the Dubai British School, which is part of Taaleem. “However, given the small number of students that use the service, and new regulations banning the smaller buses, the provider has to pool certain areas together to make it a viable business service.

“For some students, this means being part of a highly circuitous route to and from school – one particular student spends nearly three hours on a bus both ways every day.”

Mr Fulton said he was fully supportive of families that were outside of walking and cycling distance using the bus service rather than their private transport.

“With several schools in the area, the roads are often a nightmare in the mornings and afternoons,” he said of the school’s location in The Springs. “Thus, I see use of the bus service to be far safer than private car transport. However, we respect families’ individual needs and so will continue to ensure that our drop-off facilities are safe and able to facilitate a smooth flow of traffic into and out of the area.”

Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of Road Safety UAE, said in the context of reducing traffic in rush hours, the introduction of flexi-hours for schools and offices could play an important role. “Traffic jams lead to stress situations, which in turn can cause of a lot of motorists’ misbehaviour and accidents,” he said.