DUBAI 16 June 2017: Just about a decade ago, only 6 per cent of Dubai’s population condescended to use public transport. Last year, it rose to 16 per cent and Dubai Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) projects the number to go up to 20 per cent by 2020 and to almost to a third by 2030.
What catalysed this phenomenal attitudinal change in a city whose residents take pride in their ride?
“The share of public transport in people mobility in Dubai had been only 6 per cent in 2006 – a tiny percentage when compared to other metropolitan cities. Therefore, RTA started developing strategies and ambitious plans to establish an integrated, diverse and advanced transport network driven by state-of-the-art technologies,” said Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim Younes, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency.
“Following strenuous endeavours, the share of public transport soared to 16 per cent in 2016. RTA still seeks to increase the share of mass transport (metro, tram, buses, and marine transport) to as high as 20 per cent by 2020, and further increase it to 30 per cent by 2030. Work is up-and-running to achieve these goals,” noted Younes.
Younes presented a entitled: ‘Dubai Rail Transport Journey and Beyond’ at the World Metro Rail Congress 2017 in London. The paper highlighted the challenges faced by the rail sector, including the heavy reliance of considerable numbers of Dubai population on private vehicles, along with the resulting traffic jams in such a vibrant cosmopolitan city, a home for 200 nationalities living and working together.
How did the RTA achieve the almost impossible?
First, the RTA developed an automated fare collection system known as NOL card to serve as a vital instrument in attracting large numbers of people to use mass transport means.
Secondly, the RTA managed to evolve the culture of using public transport among community members who have begun to feel the benefits of using mass transit means, including:
- Physical and psychological comfort
- Low cost
- High levels of safety as well as
- Reduced costs of fuel
- Reduced cost of vehicle maintenance, among others
The CEO of Rail Agency also referred to the innovative elements adopted by RTA in expanding, developing and strengthening mass transport network in Dubai. Innovation has attracted more and diverse people to use public transport means, especially the metro and tram.
Snother paper entitled ‘Rail Agency Green Initiatives towards Low Carbon Society” was presented by Bayan Khider Abu Shaaban, Senior Sustainability Specialist at RTA Rail Agency. He screened some topics highlighted by the strategy and Key Performance Indicators of Green Economy at RTA.
He reviewed the initiatives of the Rail Agency to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmental sustainability as well as the awards won by the Agency in this field. The paper also reviewed RTA’s concern to preserve the environment by introducing projects to reduce the environmental impacts of transit modes such as the Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, and future rail projects.
The paper also highlighted the pioneering role of Dubai Metro in reducing the carbon footprint and saving the power consumption compared with several rail systems of some developed cities such as London, Montreal, Madrid, Hong Kong, Singapore among others.
By Angel Chan