(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Motorists can breathe easy with the introduction of 20 hybrid taxis by the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) this year in a bid to curb pollution.
The Toyota Camrys, operated by Dubai Taxi, will alternatively run on petrol and electricity. The RTA is the first to introduce this clean technology in the region after the pilot project was operational between 2008 and 2011, proving its green credentials.
Hybrid taxis clocked up 550,000 kilometres over the three years and there were no major maintenance issues. Fuel efficiency improved 33 per cent, and carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 33 per cent, as well.
"This move has been taken as per the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to optimise the use of power in the UAE. There is a need to nurture a safe, clean, attractive and sustainable environment in Dubai," said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Chairman and Executive Director.
"The RTA is keen on bringing about a paradigm shift in the infrastructure of mass transit systems,'' he said.
Several projects undertaken by the RTA have proven to be environment friendly. The Dubai Metro project meets high technological standards and runs on electricity. The RTA has also upgraded its fleet of buses to meet Euro 4-5 standards. Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technologies have been introduced to reduce the carbon footprint: "The RTA also launched abras powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) instead of diesel, as part of its endeavour to improve the marine transit service between the two shores of the Dubai Creek," Al Tayer said
A Green Bus initiative has also been rolled out with Biodiesel B05 which contains 5 per cent recycled edible oil: "This small percentage is capable of cutting carbon emissions by as much as 78 per cent," the RTA chairman said.
More seats in buses, audio alerts by drivers about stops and a new bus station in crowded Baraha are among suggestions given by residents to the RTA officials recently, who said 400 real-time information monitors would be installed at all bus stops for the benefit of the public by September. Residents also sought hand sanitiser dispensers aboard buses, seating priority for women at the front and safety belts on seats for adults and children.
"All feasible suggestions fielded by customers are being routed to the respective officials," said Mohammed Obaid Al Mulla, RTA Board Member and Head of the Customers' Council.
RTA officials said 89 digital monitors have been mounted at different Metro stations and 46 monitors at bus stations. Forty-three monitors have been installed in air-conditioned bus shelters in addition to one monitor at The Dubai Mall.
A presentation by Director of Transportation Systems, Adel Shakiri, screened all services and projects like the inquiry services about bus timings, real-time passenger information display monitors, and the taxi booking and despatch centre.
Shakiri added that passengers can get the schedule of buses by sending an SMS to 5223 citing the area code."