Just days ahead of the implementation of toll gate system, the Department of Transport - Abu Dhabi and the Integrated Transport Centre has introduced carpooling service, new buses, routes and fare discounts to make lives much easier for commuters.
Officials from the transport sector have maintained the toll gate system to be activated from October 15 is aimed at easing traffic congestion and increasing efficiency of the transport sector. Residents are urged to take public transport network, limit use of private vehicles and opt for carpooling by registering onto the official portal, Darb.
"The toll gate system encourages the community to plan and organise their routes in advance and decide the most appropriate times to drive, which has a positive impact on traffic flow, helps to maintain infrastructure and reduces impact on the environment," the department said in a statement.
Carpooling saves environment, money
By carpooling, a motorist who usually travels alone can share his trip with maximum of four passengers - all of whom could be heading towards the same direction or destination. So instead of 4-5 vehicles on the road, there will be just one. This will result in people saving money on fuel, parking, toll gate fee (Dh4 during peak hours and Dh2 otherwise). This practice will be a solution to traffic woes during peak hours, especially on Abu Dhabi City-Mussafah section. Importantly, it will reduce carbon emission and have positive impact on environment.
To avail of this service, residents should visit www.darb.ae/Carpooling and 'sign up' for free registration process to activate their account which will enable them to offer a ride or look for one provided by others. Even residents who don't own a vehicle can register as a passenger and 'search for a ride'. Commuters can match pick-up, drop-off destinations, time slots, other preferences, likes and dislikes to find right carpooling partners.
However, carpoolers can't charge for a particular ride but share cost of fuel, parking expense etc. Commuters have option to create closed private groups of small business, club members, neighbourhood community or family. There is also organisational group, where companies can offer such a platform to staff.
The website www.darb.ae/Carpooling isn't fully functional now but is expected to be operational soon. Carpooling, other than through DoT registration, is illegal in Abu Dhabi and violator will face fine up to Dh3,000, 24 black points and vehicle impounded for 30 days.
New bus services, routes
From Friday, new bus services were started on Mussafah-Mohamed Bin Zayed City, Khalifa City and suburban routes. There are 24 services combined to serve 12 routes.
There is also increase in frequency on many routes.
Some 40 new DoT Links 'Sprinter' mini-buses will connect suburbs with capacity of 25 passengers - 13 seating, eight standing and an option of additional four seats. These buses will be in addition to existing 'hail and ride' services and enhance frequency during peak hours.
Multiple rides for price of one
As first phase of implementing the Integrated Fare System, suburban passengers can make two transfers between buses at the cost of one.
The existing base fare of Dh2 boarding fee and an additional of 5 fils per kilometre will remain the same but a passenger can now make up to two transfers between buses within two-hour period. However, transfer must not be between buses of same service on opposite direction. This transfer is beneficial for passengers who need to take more than one suburban service to reach their destinations.
In addition to all of these, there is no change in the fare of city services in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra regions, and intercity and inter-emirate services. However, officials have confirmed the Integrated Fare System will be applied to all bus services in Abu Dhabi later.
Tech snags remain a worry
Commuters have complained about technical issues while registering for toll gates on https://itps.itc.gov.ae/. Even Abu Dhabi-registered vehicle owners are yet to receive text messages with account login details on their registered mobile number.
Even as some issues remain for toll gate registration, opening of account, residents can call 80088888, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, visit customer care or TAMM centres for further assistance.
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