Public transport fails to lure car owners


By Matovu A. Twaha

CAR owners still find it hard to switch to public transport, posing a stiff challenge to the authorities who are dedicated to channeling the public to these modes of transport in Sharjah and Dubai.

Dubai taxiMany private car owners told The Gulf Today that they do not find buses convenient in terms of timing.

“I am not familiar about bus routes, stops and timings,” said Norah S. who lives and works in Sharjah.

When reminded about the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) journey planner arrangement, also known as Wojhati, she said: “I haven’t found need to use public transport, but my daughters do. I think because they do not have a car.”

However, Norah said she uses the Metro on her day off because they stop on the doors of the malls.

Norah’s colleague, Zulekha N. said she doesn’t use public transport modes because she finds the buses too crowded. She added that her car makes her movement too convenient.

The upcoming 59th UITP World Congress and Exhibition due in Dubai between April 10 and 14 will tackle the challenges of making public transport the people’s preferred mode of choice.

The head of the organising committee of the conference, Mohammed Obaid Al Mulla said that his body expects to learn from public transport operators from around the globe on “how it is possible to adopt a customer-oriented culture.”

He said the RTA’s buses are quick, safe, convenient, reliable, clean and affordable.

“It is only here where you find air conditioned bus shelters,” added a member of the RTA’s Corporate Communications Department.

He said the RTA continues its drive to develop an integrated mass transit modes system with the aim of making it the favourite means of movement in line with its strategic goal to increase the public transport share from six per cent in 2006 to about 30 per cent in 2020.

“The authority has already increased the number of people who use public transportation from 163 million in 1995 to 309 million in 2010. The number of e-services it offers has increased by 233 per cent.”