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On the road to ridership recovery in Dubai

  • MENA
  • Crisis management
  • Regional transport
  • Urban mobility

Around 346 million riders used public transport in 2020

Public transport is one of the fastest sectors to recover from COVID-19 in Dubai.

The city’s ridership comprises of metros, trams, buses and marine transport (abra, ferry, water taxi and water bus), e-ride hailing, smart rental vehicles and taxis. In 2020, this equated to about 947,000 users per day and around 346 million users over the year.

This ridership level was achieved despite global challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, showcasing the effectiveness of the preventive measures introduced by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

RTA implemented top international practices in tackling COVID-19 to nurture a safe and healthy environment for riders and staff of mass transport means. Measures taken were based on three pillars. The first is to ensure the safety of all employees through fostering a sound and safe working environment. The second is to ensure RTA’s facilities and public transit means are free from COVID-19 hazards to ensure the continuity of services in the Emirate. The third is to continue supporting Dubai Government efforts in fighting the pandemic. For instance, RTA was keen to sanitise each train at the end of each journey and carry out intensive sanitisation of the entire fleet and stations at the end of operations each day.
His Excellency Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer
Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA

Boosting rider confidence

RTA’s statistics indicate that Dubai Metro riders (Red and Green Lines) served 113.63 million riders in 2020 (74.455 million for the Red Line and 39.172 million riders for the Green Line). Dubai Tram served 3.65 million riders, public buses transported 95.41 million riders and marine transport ferried 8.05 million riders. Shared transport, such as e-ride hailing and smart rental vehicles served 15.29 million riders, and taxis served 109.94 million riders.

Precautionary Measures

Based on UITP’s COVID-19 guidelines, RTA has implemented a comprehensive system for sanitising public transport as well as enforcing face coverings and distancing.

RTA has also introduced temperature scans for all staff at the beginning and end of shifts.

The vaccine has also been rolled out to public transport workers, with around 20,000 employees already vaccinated, with an aim to see all of  workers vaccinated. In a recent news article, UITP shared vaccine stories from the likes of RTA and other international members.

Extensive evidence has shown that with the correct measures in place, public transport is COVID-safe. Learn more in our Policy Brief

UITP has partnered with ISSA and GBAC to provide recommendations for the public transport sector on cleaning and disinfecting practices to ensure service excellence and safety of services. Join our upcoming webinar ‘Achieving excellence with clean and safe public transport’ for some cleaning dos and don’ts! 



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