Sunday, April 27, 2008

Now the RTA comes clean.

There's unequivocal confirmation now from the RTA that their 'integrated transport plan' excludes private cars.

Back in November I said in a post titled 'Stupid, stupid me'
that I'd suddenly realised the plan was to make it impossible for us to use our cars.

Then in December they acknowledged that they were planning to expand the Salik toll system to "encourage" us to use public transport. I posted that as 'RTA comes clean' but I hadn't quite got that right.

Now they've come clean, their statements at a conference being reported by The National newspaper.

They quote Abdul Redha Abu al Hassan, the RTA’s director of rail planning, as saying:

"There are two methods of encouraging people to stop using the car and travel by public transport instead. One is to provide a luxurious and safe environment for mass transit systems and the other is to force them by increasing the cost of driving."

That's what I'd realised back in November. As I said then: "The plan is simply to drive us all off the roads completely."

He went on to spell out some of the plans:

"driving a car will become a lot more expensive"..."car parking and annual re-registration charges will go up significantly"..."Salik would definitely be extended"...The majority of Dubai’s population would be unable to afford planned increases in vehicle registration fees and additional Salik charges: "To pay all the fees it will end up that they have no money left in their pay packets"...

It's no surprise that Dubai has an enormous 541 vehicles per 1,000 residents (compared with 444 in New York and 345 in London) or that only five percent of trips here are made by public transport.

Blind Freddie can see that if you have no public transport system people have to use private cars. So that's what's been happening.

When we have an integrated public transport system there's a chance that we'll use it rather than our cars. But...

The evidence is clear that Dubai suffers from so many unnecessary problems which are caused by plain and simple old fashioned bad planning. Time after time after time. In spite of starting with a competely blank canvas. In spite of all the data from other cities around the world.

To work as it was meant to in theory a public transport system has to give people what they want, when and where they want it and at a price they are able and prepared to pay. It must be interlinked, convenient, clean, fast and safe.

With the evidence of how much bad planning we have to contend with all around us, I'm not optimistic that the problems of travelling around Dubai are going to get much better.

The National story is here.


redstar said...

If they provide an alternative, great. If they don't, it's clearly just a money making exercise. They'll have to tread very carefully to avoid uproar from locals and expats alike.

Making parking more expensive? There's nowhere to park anyway...

I don't understand how transport seemingly got forgotten when planning a brand new city!

Seabee said...

Redstar that's all part of the incompetent planning - or complete lack of planning - that I keep complaining about!

alexander said...

I remember an Arab journalist saying once that Matar Al Tayer had told him 'off the record' that the plan was to increase the cost of owning a car to Dhs 10k a year.

And that's the plan, it would appear.

redstar said...

I wonder if Mr AT will provide alternatives before ownership costs that much...

...and if that fee will be applied to everyone.

caz said...

Reading that little lot, makes driving in Sydney a breeze, notwithstanding the cost of petrol etc.

We thought we had incompetent planners.