By Shafaat Ahmed www.khaleejtimas.com
A kilometre-long dedicated bus and taxi lane on Al Ittihad Road from Dubai’s border with Sharjah towards Al Mamzar is all set to open in the next few days.
The opening of the road for the first time in nearly six years is expected to ease traffic on the perennially clogged highway though other motorists will be fined for using the track.
Though no exact date of the opening of the route has been announced by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) as yet, a senior official indicated that the opening is imminent.
Work on the track, part of the second phase of the RTA’s dedicated lanes project, which also includes another kilometre-long stretch on the Naif-Musallah Road, is in the finishing stages with the signboards and road marks already up.
The RTA announced the launch of the two lanes on two of Dubai’s busiest roads in January this year.
The lane on Al Ittihad Road will head to Al Mamzar area, leading to opening of Al Nahda interchange towards the direction of Dubai diverting the RTA buses and taxis to Al Mamzar residential area.
A signboard facing the lane reads that the track is only for buses and taxis and any other motorist entering the lane would attract a fine of Dh600.
This suggests that it is unlikely that general traffic would be allowed to take the exit, which motorists feel would have further helped ease traffic on the congested road.
The phase II of the dedicated bus lanes comes following the great success of phase I, which was launched in May last year and included special lanes on Khalid bin Waleed Road, Al Khaleej Road, Al Ghubaiba Street as well as Mankhool Road.
The lanes helped reduce traffic on these busy streets as well as helping people reach faster to their destinations.
The expansion of dedicated lanes comes following a demand by public transport users as reflected by a recent survey.
The survey showed that 77 per cent of the public transport users wished the scheme to cover other streets in Dubai, 75 per cent stated that the scheme helped reduce the journey time and 76 per cent believed that the scheme would be an attractive element for using mass transport.
Once the second phase is successfully implemented, the RTA is planning to add more roads to the dedicated lanes network. — firstname.lastname@example.org