(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai is observing the 8th Public Transport Day today not just to promote the use of mass transit for mobility but also to boost the residents' physical activity.
"The 8th Public Transportation Day promises to have intense turnout from the public, government bodies, educational institutions and the private sector. The RTA also stages other events in line with the Dubai Fitness Challenge initiative launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Sports Council," said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors.
Events on Public Transport Day, which also coincides with the 12th anniversary of the RTA, include the public transport race, golden runner competition and rewarding of the most frequent public transport users.
Also happening today is the implementation of new metro and tram timings, deployment of additional trains at six metro stations, launch of new bus routes to Global Village Dubai and installation of 10 air-conditioned bus shelters in Academic City as part of Phase II of the 400 air-conditioned bus shelters across Dubai. (See infographics)
Al Tayer said that "the integrated mass transport system in Dubai, which includes Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, buses and marine transit modes, has become a major factor in moving people to various areas in Dubai."
"The number of mass transit users rocketed from 163 million in 2006 to 544 million 2016. As a result, the public transport share grew dramatically from six per cent in 2006 to 16 percent in 2016, and RTA plans to raise this rate to as much as 20 per cent by 2020," Al Tayer added.
He also noted that since the launch of the Metro service on September 9, 2009 until end of August 2017, the Dubai Metro has lifted 1.028 billion riders (689 million on the Red Line and 339 million on the Green Line). Public buses lifted 1.3 billion commuters from 2006 to 2016, while marine modes carried about 178 million riders during the same period.
The RTA is also working on upgrading the infrastructure and efficiency of mass transit systems. One of the key mass transit projects to be implemented in the next five years is 'Route 2020,' the 15-km extension of Nakheel Harbour and Tower station to Dubai Expo 2020 venue.
Moreover, 50 new trains will be added to the Dubai Metro fleet - 15 to serve Expo and 35 to serve the existing lines.
The RTA will also expand the city's bus network to cover 16 new areas and upgrading the marine transport system to link Business Bay with the Arabian Gulf.
Use public transport to win prizes
Use of public transport takes centre stage every year on November 1 after the RTA declared it as Public Transport Day in 2010. Lots of prizes also await the riding public, especially those who use mass transit the most.
This year, two most frequent public transport users who collected the most number of points by using their Nol cards from October 23 to November 1 will receive a cash prize of Dh50,000 each.
There is also a public transport race, similar to the TV programme Amazing Race, where teams will race through various metro, tram, bus and marine transport stations. The participants will be required to perform some exercises upon arrival at each station to collect stamps. The winning team with the most number of stamps collected will receive a cash prize of Dh50,000, while the second and third placers will bring home Dh30,000 and Dh15,000 respectively.
Another contest is the Golden Runner competition via social media. Participants have to follow on RTA's social networking sites to locate the Golden Runner who has been visiting daily three RTA stations. Winners will receive wearable e-prizes (Fitbits) as well as Apple watches and iPhone 8.
"The RTA always seeks to bring happiness to the public, particularly mass transit users and encourage them to pursue physical activities and exercises during their daily commute," said Moaza Al Marri, director of RTA's marketing and corporate communication.