Abu Dhabi launches free bus service to offer relief from Darb toll

Park and Ride will begin operations in Abu Dhabi from January 2. Picture for illustrative purposes only.
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: Motorists coming in to Abu Dhabi from outside can now avail a free Park-and-Ride service, which will be launched to coincide with the rollout of Darb toll gates.

Park and Ride will begin operations from January 2, allowing motorists to park their vehicles in designated lots outside Abu Dhabi island and take a free bus into downtown Abu Dhabi. This will eliminate the need for them to pay the Darb toll, which will be collected at the four bridges connecting the mainland to Abu Dhabi island. In a statement, Abu Dhabi’s public transport regulator, the Department of Municipalities and Transport’s Integrated Transport Centre, said the launch of the Park and Ride aims to increase the number of travel options for commuters, while also reducing traffic congestion. Not only will motorists who use the service be able to avoid the Dh4-per-pass Darb toll, but they will also not have to pay parking fees in the city.

Free parking spaces

A number of free parking lots have been designated for use by people who choose to opt for Park and Ride, including 500 spaces in Mohammed Bin Zayed City and 500 spaces in Al Shahama.

Two service lines

Two different services will cater to Park and Ride users. Service 104 will depart from Al Huwaim Street in Mohammed Bin Zayed City and travel to Abu Dhabi Main Bus Station in Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Street, Al Wahda Mall on Hazza bin Zayed Street, the Etisalat building on Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street and Qasr Al Hosn in the intersection between Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street and Khalifa Street. The entire trip will take 50 minutes.

Service No 411 will depart from Shahama F1 Assembly point, on to Abu Dhabi Main Bus station in Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Street, Maryam bint Saeed Mosque parking in Al Dana, Abu Dhabi Central Post Office parking spaces in the same area, and in the intersection between Sheikh Khalifa and Sultan bin Zayed Street in Al Dana. This trip will also take 50 minutes.

Operating hours

The services will operate from Saturday to Thursday, from 6am to 9pm. Buses will leave every 20 minutes during peak hours — from 6am to 9am, and from 4pm to 9pm. In off-peak hours, the frequency will reduce to every 60 minutes in either direction.

Social distancing

According to the ITC, a total of 58 trips will be conducted every day as part of each of the two Park and Ride services. Each trip will ensure that social distancing is maintained, so only 24 sears will be available on each bus, with standing prohibited.

Ticket use

For each vehicle, three Park and Ride tickets will be available freely, i.e., for the driver and two passengers. The tickets can only be used on the day they are issued for the Park and Ride, and users can take for unlimited park and Ride bus trips to travel between stops on Abu Dhabi island. On the other hand, those using the Park and Ride buses without the designated card will invite fines of Dh200.

COVID-19 precautions

The ITC reiterated that it is following all COVID-19 preventative measures on public buses, including reducing their maximum capacity by half, and mandating masks for drivers and passengers. In addition, all buses undergo regular sterilisation after each trip.

The ITC statement said the authority will study the service demand in the initial months to ensure its optimum availability in future.

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