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Ridership in Public Transportation in the UAE Essay

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Updated: Apr 20th, 2022

It is unusual for many Emirati residents to use public transportation because bottlenecks in the local public system prevent them from doing so. Further, they lack awareness of its benefits. Individual car ownership is higher in this country’s capital than in some economic capitals of the world like New York and Tokyo. Policymakers can alter these statistics by dealing with the bottlenecks that prevent people from using public transport in the first place.

Challenges exist in public bus transportation as feeder buses are rare. Passengers who board public buses often have to waste time waiting for buses to pick up passengers inside residential estates (Al Busaidy 12). This is terribly inconvenient and uneconomical for professionals. Local authorities ought to introduce feeder buses that carry people directly from their residential areas into a central bus point where another direct bus can take them up. The latter bus should be an express bus that goes to its destination without stopping along the way. This will dramatically reduce traffic because many buses park along with bus stops when picking passengers thus crowding the road. It is likely that time-conscious workers will respond positively to these changes by considering buses. Traveling times will shorten if a feeder bus services a large population and only travels a short distance. Express buses that go directly to their destination would also make a person’s journey seamless.

The issue of time is also affected by the frequency with which public buses appear at their stations. Sometimes residents may need to get home or to work at a certain time only to find that buses work in the evenings and mornings. This lack of consistency and reliability prevents many people from choosing buses as a mode of transport.

Emirati officials also need to examine some of the busiest transport networks to connect them. A lot of business takes place between residents of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Persons in Jebel Ali must contend with the inconvenience of going to distant locations to catch Abu Dhabi buses. If these two areas were connected then more passengers would use the public bus system. Additionally, some areas are a favorite for business transactions and meetings. It would make sense to have public transport routes that would facilitate this endeavor (Sambidge 9).

The problem of parking has always been a phenomenal one in the UAE. Some of the individuals who own cars may find it more convenient to use public transport in the course of their day. For instance, someone could be traveling from outside the city and could need their personal cars to get into the city. However, upon arrival, excessive congestion or unawareness of city routes may necessitate the need for public transport. If authorities provided parking and riding schemes where car owners can park and use public buses, then more people would be involved.

Incentives can encourage many individuals to use public means. For instance, if tax breaks existed for persons who use this means of transport, then more workers are likely to embrace it. A large pool of professionals often complains of the huge disincentives that exist in the Emirati revenue collection system. Therefore, tax breaks would be a welcome addition to the excessive credit card deductions to which many residents are subjected. In addition, authorities may work with employers who encourage the use of public transport by giving them tax breaks as well. These employers could have travel plans in their work premises for employees who want to use public transport (Lian 8).

Lack of awareness is another factor behind the reduced use of public transport in Emirati cities. Residents need to be made aware of the power that they have to minimize congestion in the city. They need to learn about the role they play in causing traffic jams by using personal cars. Awareness campaigns may be done through local media, mobile telephone messaging, posters and online. These campaigns should also include the cost advantages that residents can gain from choosing public means (Ahmed and Janahi 6). Passengers would be saved from fuel and parking lot charges that come with the use of their own cars. Since the UAE has a large expatriate population from the developed world, it would make sense if it reiterated the effects of public transport on the environment. If this message is included in media campaigns, it could resonate with foreigners as many of them already commit to environmental conservation in their countries. Exhaust emissions would dramatically reduce if more Emiratis embraced public transport.

One of the most effective ways of teaching values to a certain population is to start when people are young. School children should take trips on public buses rather than privately rented buses. This will expose them to this form of transport at an early age and cause them to become comfortable with it. It is more difficult for authorities to change the mindsets of adults who have used personal cars since childhood.

Another incentive that can boost participation in public systems is subsidisation of bus passes. This can occur on the individual level or even on an organisational level. Furthermore, people need to enjoy the ride to their workplaces in those transport systems. One way of achieving this is by making waiting areas or bus stops attractive. They could consist of attractive images of people or have interesting advertisements. Buses themselves need to have wi-fi access, journey information available to passengers in real time as well as comfortable seat arrangements. These features can mimic the comforts available in personal cars thus encouraging more people to use them (Scotland’s Climate Group 3).

The option of reward cards could also be exploited by municipal authorities. In this regard, persons could earn points for every time they take the bus. These points could be stored in their reward cards and redeemed for a free bus ride. Alternatively, authorities may also reward people for being public transport ambassadors. For example, if a person introduced, say three new passengers into the public transport system, they could earn points for doing so.

Sometimes actual details of how public transport systems work may prevent some visitors from using them. It is a known fact that most of the population in the UAE is foreign-born. Additionally, most of these expatriates do not stay in the country for long. The high influx rate of visitors necessitates a route map and a public transportation information system. The government could provide maps and timetables across notice boards in different portions of the country. This would remove the guess work out of such schedules and thus encourage more people to utilise this option (Internations 4).

The key behind increasing public transport ridership is to address the obstacles that prevent use of these systems in the first place. Usually, inconvenience, comfort and the lack of reliability are the key concerns in the UAE. Additionally, people need encouragement to use public transport through incentives. They should also be made aware of the need to use these methods through media campaigns.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Ashfaq and Sara Janahi. . 2010.

Al Busaidy, Aida. “Public transport is preferable in UAE on holiday and at home.” The National 2013. Web.

Internations. Transportation in the UAE. 2013. Web.

Lian, Tan. Encourage more people to take public transport. 2007. Web.

Sambidge, Andy. . 2008. Web.

Scotland’s Climate Group. Public transport. 2012. Web.

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