Engineer Abdul Majid Al Khaja, CEO of the Rail Agency at the Road and Transport Authority (RTA), entertained approximately 70 alumni, faculty and students, with a lively and informative presentation on "Mobility Difficulties in Dubai. Eng Al Khaja, an alumnus of UOWD, Class of 2003, noted that he was delighted to be back at UOWD.
Showcasing the accomplishments of the Rail Agency on the Dubai Metro project, Eng Al Khaja, highlighted the RTAs commitment to an integrated, intelligent transport system that includes rail, roads, marine, buses and taxis to meet the UAEs projected growth in population over the next 10 years.
He noted that Dubai has a ratio of 571 cars per 1,000 people, compared to Singapores rate of 111 cars per 1,000 people. In western cities, the ratio of trips made by walking and using public transportation versus using a car is approximately 4:1, but here in Dubai it is almost equal, meaning people use their cars for almost every trip they make.
Ambitious plans to address this situation over the next two years include increasing the number of public buses from the current 650 to 3,000 (with an additional 900 air-conditioned bus shelters to be built), the opening of two of the four planned routes of the Dubai Metro by Sept 2009, and expanding marine transportation such as abras and water taxis to include coastal areas of the city. Eng Al Khaja noted that processes such as paid parking and Salik were introduced to assist in reducing the number of car trips being made.
The RTA have planned multi-modal stations that will allow passengers to transfer from one means of transport to another easily and quickly. A common fare structure will be in place and a smart card payment system will keep everything flowing smoothly.
Eng. Abdul Majid Al Khaja, addresses the alumni during his presentation on Mobility Difficulties in Dubai.
In response to a question from the audience on how the RTA will encourage people to use public transportation, Eng Al Khaja noted that this was the real challenge. He believes that providing clean, safe and efficient services that cater to all segments of the market will encourage people to use public transportation, but that legislative measures may also be necessary to help change the habits of the general public. Legislation could include heavy import taxes on automobiles, increasing parking rates, petrol prices and license renewals to very high rates similar to the model used by Singapore.
This presentation was the first in a series planned by the Alumni Association to feature prominent UAE nationals and UOWD alumni as guest speakers. For more information on the UOWD alumni Association, please contact Alumni@uowdubai.ac.ae or visit the alumni section of the website, www.uowdubai.ac.ae/alumni