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School bus occupancy in Dubai stands at 53% – RTA

School bus occupancy in Dubai stands at 53% – RTA

About 88 per cent of students in Dubai use private vehicles to travel to their schools

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has revealed that the occupancy rate of school buses only stands at 53 per cent in the emirate.

About 88 per cent of students in Dubai use private vehicles to travel to their schools, which “increases congestion and environmental pollution”, the RTA said in a statement.

The number of students in public and private schools in Dubai in 2016 was about 295,000, according to official data.

Overall, school bus trips accounted for 13 per cent of the total volume of trips during the morning rush hours in Dubai.

“The school transport sector in Dubai faces multiple challenges including the geographical distribution of schools, where 62 per cent of schools are localised in Deira and 38 per cent in Bur Dubai, which results in high pressure on the roads network adjacent to schools,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA.

“Challenges also include the low percentage of school bus users as reflected in its 11 per cent share of total schools trips, compared to 32 per cent in the United States.

“The transit means use is still limited and stands at just 1 per cent of the total number of mass transit users,” he added.

However, Al Tayer asserted that the school transport centre has seen “rapid growth”, with school transport trips now exceeding 81,000 per hour.

“It is set to reach 115,000 trips per hour by 2020, and 176,000 trips per hour by 2030,” he said.

“The number of school buses registered in the traffic system has reached 6,500 so far and is expected to rise to 7,628 buses by 2020 and 14,455 by 2030,” he added.

The RTA has now upgraded the technical specifications of school buses and defined the responsibilities of operators, schools and parents to improve safety and security.

It is currently studying introducing flexi working hours and staggering the working hours and school hours.

The RTA also intends to conduct a study on the 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.

It is also planning to enact legislations and incentive programmes to streamline the school transport sector and encourage students to use school buses and mass transit means.

“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,” added Al Tayer.

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