DUBAI // Public transport users welcomed news that more buses ran on time but said action could be taken to improve transport services.
Most public bus services were on time and more people chose to book taxis by telephone, the Roads and Transport Authority said yesterday.
Bus drivers’ compliance with timetables rose to 74 per cent last year from 69 per cent in 2015.
The number of taxi bookings reached 7.32 million last year, compared with 5.45 million in 2015.
The authority said widespread use of smart systems in public buses and taxis had improved the public transport system’s efficiency and reduced costs.
Last year, bus passenger numbers grew to 151.1 million, from 134.78 million in 2015. The average number of monthly bus journeys last year was 273,737.
Bus drivers’ compliance with their schedules was maintained at 98 per cent in the past two years.
Even so, some residents said more should be done to streamline the bus routes.
“It takes far too long to travel from where you get on a bus to where you want to go,” said Filipina Fiona Frietas.
“It seems like they go along every road and it takes much longer than it should. I would like to see fewer diversions away from the main routes.”
Her compatriot Philip Costa agreed but said he had noticed improvements in the punctuality of buses.
“The buses do seem to be more on time than a few years ago,” he said.
“But many people are put off from using buses compared with the metro because the routes take far too long.
“I think there should be an option to have more express services within the city to popular areas so that passengers who don’t need to be dropped off elsewhere can take that.”
The authority said its automated bus movement systemwas designed to enhance the communication between the control centre and bus drivers.
The authority monitors the movement of 1,514 buses over 274 routes, ensures the timely departure and arrival of buses at stations and ensures bus drivers’ compliance with the timetables.
Last year, the taxi booking and dispatch centre received about 7.8 million calls, up from 7.2 million in 2015.
It coordinates taxi-booking calls and distributes them to the franchise companies based on location, speed and other parameters.
The centre’s automated system responded to 44 per cent of the booking calls last year, and the response time to incoming calls was 30 seconds.
The authority said the centre’s response times were excellent compared with those in countries such as Canada, which had an average response time of 45 seconds and average call time of 53 seconds.
It took the authority an average of 13.85 minutes to send a taxi to a customer, compared with 18 minutes in Australia and 15 minutes in Canada.