By Staff writer
Transport authority looking at ways to increase use of public buses and reduce traffic congestion, according to RTA chief Mattar Al Tayer
Almost nine out of ten students in Dubai are brought to school by private vehicles, according to the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) chief.
A study carried out by the RTA showed that 88 percent of 295,000 students in public and private schools Dubai use private transport over school buses, which Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the RTA said increased “congestion and environmental pollution” in the emirate.
“This is aggravated by the low occupancy rate of school buses amounting 53%,” said Al Tayer. “The transit means use is still limited and stands at just 1% of the total number of mass transit users.”
He said school bus trips accounted for 13% of the total volume of trips during the morning rush hours in Dubai, but it’s a number that will grow in years to come.
“The school transport centre witnesses a rapid growth where school transport trips exceeded 81,000 per hour and is set to reach 115,000 trips per hour by 2020, and 176,000 trips per hour by 2030,” said Al Tayer.
Increase use of buses - reduce traffic congestion
He said the RTA has upgraded the technical specifications of school buses and to improve the safety and security and will now look to increase use of the public bus service.
“Through the comprehensive study for managing the demand on transport, the RTA is currently studying introducing flexi working hours and staggering the working hours and school hours,” said Al Tayer.
“The RTA also intends to conduct a comprehensive study on school transport sector to come up with solutions and guidelines related to the distribution of schools and their integration with the roads and transport network, besides surveying school areas and figuring out traffic solutions.
"The civic body is also poised to enact legislations and incentive programmes to streamline the school transport sector and encourage students to use school buses and mass transit means.”
Al Tayer said the RTA will also review the technical specifications of school buses to raise the efficiency and safety levels, and study the current working models of the school transport to bring them in line with the global standards.
“Such endeavours would contribute to raising the school transport efficiency, and significantly reducing the number of the required school buses in order to ease traffic snarls leading to schools and surrounding areas,” said Al Tayer.