Free bus service to save lives
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 13, 2007, 22:48
Dubai: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is hoping pedestrian deaths will drop once it introduces its free shuttle bus service.
The RTA has taken this new initiative to encourage people to use the free bus service and curb traffic accidents between the first interchange and Trade Centre roundabout on Shaikh Zayed Road.
“Some 14 pedestrians have already died while 39 were injured in various road accidents so far this year on Shaikh Zayed Road,” said Mohammad Obaid Al Mulla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Transport Agency at the RTA.
A total of 20 people have died on this road during the first six months of this year. Out of 135 total road accident deaths, 56 pedestrians had been run over, the RTA statistics revealed.
Badr Mattar Al Siri, Director of the Traffic Department at the RTA said: “With the launch of the new service, pedestrian accidents this year would drop. Last year 120 pedestrians died on Dubai Roads compared to just 47 in 1997.”
Initially two buses will shuttle on this route at an interval of half an hour. However, the date of launching and exact time of operation will be announced soon, once the RTA makes final arrangements. It is expected to start next month.
Al Mulla said the provision of such services comes within the vision of the RTA to provide safe and smooth transport for all.
“The service will not only help reduce pedestrians deaths but also reduce traffic on this stretch of the road as motorists can leave their cars and use buses to commute between offices and hotels in this important commercial and residential area,” he said.
Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Dubai Financial Market and a number of hotels are all in the area between the Trade Centre Roundabout and the Defence Roundabout.
Al Siri called upon pedestrians to take extra caution by crossing roads from designated places only.
“The RTA has also fenced a number of danger spots, which have witnessed accidents where pedestrians had been run over, which accounted for 38 per cent of the total accident fatalities in 2006.
“It is an alarming indicator because pedestrian mortality rate in developed countries ranges from 15 per cent to 18 per cent of the total road accident deaths,” Al Siri said.
Residents working on Shaikh Zayed Road have welcomed the free bus shuttle service.
“It is a great idea. I have to commute between offices on both sides of Shaikh Zayed Road for my meetings. Now I can leave my car and take the bus,” said Rameez Ali, a salesman.
He said it would also save him from the hassle of finding parking.
The RTA is also spending Dh70 million on pedestrian bridges and signal-controlled zebra crossings in Dubai to reduce deaths.
At least 17 new crossings will be completed in 2008. In addition, 47 pedestrian crossings are being constructed as part of Dubai Metro Stations Project, 12 of which are located at the Dubai Metro stations on Shaikh Zayed Road.
Pedestrians face hefty fines and jail for ‘carelessness’
Traffic enforcement officers have sent out a strong warning against reckless pedestrians who cross roads at undesignated areas, thus causing accidents and endangering the lives of themselves and others.
Pedestrians have been warned against crossing roads irresponsibly and from the undesignated areas as they might be slapped with a hefty Dh500 fine or jailed, Salah Bu Farrousha, Head of Traffic Public Prosecution, told Gulf News yesterday.
“If a pedestrian crosses the road carelessly and [is] responsible for an accident … endangering his own life besides the lives of others [motorists] then he will be slapped with a maximum fine of Dh500 or land in prison.
“Crossing a road in an undesignated spot is an act punishable by law,” said Bu Farrousha.
Have your say
Will you use this free bus service? Do you think it can really help save lives?