Dubai starts free call-a-bus service in Warqa, Al Barsha

By Angel Chan

RTA starts trial run of ‘Bus on Demand’ service at Al Barsha, Al Warqaa

DUBAI 18 February 2018:  The trial run of Bus-on-Demand initiative was launched by Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The service debuts at Al Warqaa and Al Barsha for a trial period of three months – for free.

‘Bus on Demand’ initiative will be offered through the smart app (MVMANT).

The 18-seater buses will operate on flexible routes and schedules, and bus drivers can know the service demand through the app to reach the nearest point to their destinations. RTA had entered the geographical data of Al Warqaa 3 and 4 and Al Barsha 1 and 2 in MVMANT app, which is available on Google Play and Apple Stores on mobile phones. Through the app, customers living at Al Warqaa and Al Barsha will be able to identify their locations and track the bus arrival times to their locations.

“The smart responsive system is to address the requests of public transport riders based on the idea of linking some places with mini public buses operating nearby their locations. They can avail the service through the smart app, which enables them to figure out their routes from the start point to destination point, choose their preferred seats, and pay fares. The service will be an innovative solution to the First and Last Mile between the homes of clients and the nearest public transport station

During the trial operation,  the efficiency of the service will be assessed in terms of accessibility to riders, response period, and the time of journey to the destination. A questionnaire will be provided at the Metro stations in those two selected areas to probe their needs, views and thoughts about the service before being activated in order to ensure that it will be up to their expectations of a smooth and secure transport.

It is noteworthy that before the launch of this initiative, RTA had conducted site surveys and polls covering 1,750 samples (63% male, 37% female), and the proportion of those aged 25 to 34 amounted to 53% of respondents.

The service targets three categories: workers (23%), occupational specialists (15%), and retail & services business (62%). The site survey was based on several parameters including demography of service users, car ownership, mobility options, nearest public transport station/stops, and preferred mobility choices such as the walking distance, waiting time etc. Other parameters include comfort, accuracy of schedules, and service on demand, service proximity to homes & destinations, and reasonable fares of the service; which is also environment-friendly. The RTA has also consulted the best global practices in this regard in countries like Spain, Germany, US, and Finland.

The initiative is also based on other considerations such as the optimal use of land, type of commercial activities, average personal income, age groups, population density, avoiding competition with the existing public transport systems, and requests received from the public.