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MENA Bus Working Group Meeting and webinar COVID-19 updates & electric bus pilot projects

  • MENA
  • Electric bus
  • Electric vehicle
  • Future of Mobility
  • Urban mobility

The UITP MENA organized an online UITP MENA Bus Working Group session on 18th August, with a main focus on Electric Bus pilot projects in the region as well as share updates on public transport during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Public transport leaders from Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – presented their views and strategies in response to the pandemic.

In his welcome remarks,Mohammad Al Ali, Chairman MENA Bus Working Groupand Director of Buses Department RTA Dubai, thanked the regional members for their participation and highlighted that in order to restore the  commuter’s trust we need to demonstrate that public transport services is safe to use. Practices like enforcing mandatory wearing of face mask, maintaining social distance on buses and taxis, increased sanitization of buses and public transport facilities will increase the public’s confidence.

Ayman Smadi, Director UITP MENA & CTE briefed the members about the initiatives taken by UITP for knowledge sharing during the pandemic.  A series of webinars have been organized in order to bring together experts from world over to share the best practices being implemented at this crucial time. The details of publications and activities can be accessed on thededicated webpage.

Considering growing focus and increased deployment of E-buses in MENA, the Centre for Transport Excellence (CTE) has planned a series of activities to address the unique characteristics in MENA (climate, infrastructure, business models). Marwan Hussein, Researcher UITP MENA CTE presented the summary of these activities. The CTE is working on research paper to Identifying and track perceptions and attitudes, enablers and challenges. Also A Policy Paper is being developed in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) to identify “Systems approach” for deployment of electric buses in MENA.

The Key takeaways from the session are summarized as follows:

Updates from the region:

•    PT operations in MENA gradually recovering from COVID-19 impact

  • Resumption of PT operations:
    • Abu Dhabi – 19/8
    • Kuwait – 19/8
    • Saudi Arabia – 31/5 (limited operations)
    • Other countries in MENA already have restored public transport operations with some measures on capacity and other precautions


ITC Abu Dhabi initiatives during COVID 19: Anan Al Amiri, Lead Officer Marketing in Public Transport Sector, ITC Abu Dhabi

•    ITC Abu Dhabi shared their successful initiatives in dealing with COVID-19 impact on Public Transport

  • Sanitization of buses and preventative measures
  • On-demand bus for health professionals (Health Link)


E Bus pilots in MENA ongoing

  • Impressive efforts to evaluate and explore the introduction of e-bus in MENA are underway while recognizing unique regional characteristics, especially climate

Dubai E-Bus trials: Laith Mustafa Al Qasem, Senior Specialist, Maintenance and Services Department RTA Dubai     

  • RTA completed several trials including e-bus demo and dynamic (wireless) charging.
  • The trials provide insights on the framework for deployment, possible bus specifications, understanding battery configuration, expected range, and possibility of opportunity charging to improve performance.
  • A further trial is being planned for the later this year.

Mwasalat Misr Cairo E-Bus trial, Mohsen Sabra, Chairman Deputy Business Development Manager, Mwasalat Misr  

  • Mwasalat Misr completed an extensive evaluation for e-Bus in Cairo and highlighted many of the key issues to watch for in e-bus deployment

UITP Procurement strategy – Tips for MENA 

E-Bus phased approach on deployment, Maria Wedenby, City Mobility Director Volvo Buses & Stefan Widlund, City Mobility Director Volvo Buses

•   UITP has developed a comprehensive framework for a systematic approach to e-Bus deployment for successful operations and procurement prerequisites, presented by Volvo

  • Phased approach (& pilots) is needed to test product, operations and infrastructure

If you are a member and would like us to keep you updated on the upcoming MENA Bus Working Group activities, please contact[email protected]. If interested in MENA CTE E-bus activities, please contact[email protected].

  • Clickhere to access the webinar presentations and recording
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