Forty new mini-buses have hit the streets of Abu Dhabi on Friday to serve people travelling to city's outskirts and enhance public transport network ahead of the implementation of the new toll collection system.
The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), the emirate's transport regulator, said that the new minibuses are part of phase 1 of the major overhaul in public bus services in Abu Dhabi, which will see the addition of 327 buses to the fleet.
The plan will include adding on the number of new regional bus services in Abu Dhabi and implementing the first phase of the Integrated Fare System (IFS). The IFS is to be applied to all bus services in the emirate later.
There are seatbelts, a smart payment system, route tracking, along with CCTV cameras, USB ports and facility to support people of determination.
These buses will be added to the existing 'hail and ride' services, enhancing frequency during peak hours. The eco-friendly minibus marks a shift from Euro 4 emission standards to Euro 6.
New changes follow public demand
Mohammed Hamad Al Muhairi, executive director of the Public Transport Sector at the ITC, said the changes came as a result of an extensive study of the bus services as against the public demand. The study aimed at offering better public bus services with wider coverage.
"The new plan fulfills the public demand and follows ITC's continuous efforts to offer the best public transport services and implement the Surface Transport Mater Plan objectives, while making commuting by buses one of the most convenient travel options in the emirate of Abu Dhabi," said Al Muhairi.
According to authorities, the latest improvements in public transport services in Abu Dhabi, including the installation of new air-conditioned bus shelters, new routes, introducing new bus services and free Wi-Fi on buses has resulted in an increase of 15 per cent in the use of public transport. As many as 48.2 million trips were registered from January to August 31, 2019 compared to 41.9 million trips during the same period in 2018, said ITC officials.
Al Mazrouei stated that ITC will increase the number of daily trips on the main bridges where the Abu Dhabi toll gate system will be implemented. Specifically, 147 additional daily trips will operate: 43 additional services on Khalifa Bridge, for passengers coming from Al Shahama and Yas Island, while 104 additional services on Al Maqta Bridge for passengers coming from Musaffah, Bani Yas and Al Nahdha.
Ateeq Mohammed Al Mazrouei, operations director of the Public Transport Sector at ITC, said: "These improvements support ITC's plan to enhance the public transport service network just before the implementation of Abu Dhabi toll gate system from October 15."
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