Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bus lanes - this'll be fun

Our beloved RTA has announced that Dubai will start having dedicated bus lanes from May.

They will be exclusively for public buses, taxis and emergency vehicles.

According to Mattar Al Tayer, the RTA boss:

"The project will...minimise the demand for parking spaces at congested spots, reduce the environmental pollution rates caused by private vehicle exhausts and decrease the number of road accidents."


Some of us come from cities which have had bus lanes for years but many others come from cities where there's no traffic discipline at all. The RTA says there'll be an education campaign for a couple of weeks. If there is, if it's understandable, if it reaches all drivers regardless of their language - I'm still sceptical that it'll work.

For the morons who scream along the hard shoulder whenever there's a jam the bus lanes will just provide another way to push in front. I bet drivers of private buses will use them too.

There's apparently going to be a Dh600 fine, but for the people who rack up tens of thousands of dirhams in fines anyway that won't be a deterrent. Nor will it be for those who don't bother to pay their fines and simply don't re-register their vehicles.

I also have serious doubts about the planning of it. While there's a 3.6km stretch and another of 1.4km, there's another of only 320 metres and, even worse, one of just 220 metres.

So to avoid the short bus lane private vehicles will suddenly have to push into the next lane, then they'll move back again after a couple of seconds when the bus lane ends. Or they'll ignore the signs and carry on in the bus lane anyway.

Details are in The National.


Dave said...

Another well intentioned idea that is doomed for failure.

Rami said...

For a change, I'm going to be super naive and optimistic and hope that this actually makes a difference.

Yes, the lanes are too short, but it makes sense to have this happen in phases.

Yes, the fines aren't very expensive for the Richers, but then there's this article in today's paper about traffic fines being adjusted to people's income.

Honestly, in a month of bizarre rules and enforcement (all nicely summarized on this blog), I'm going to keep my fingers crossed and hope this one actually works.

the real nick said...

Rami, the adjustment of fines in relation to income is a good idea - and practised elsewhere: I was once summoned to a Magistrate's court in the UK for a traffic violation. The judge asked me how much my disposable monthly income was, and then disposed of it...

Rami said...

Oh I know. I'm totally for it. I was making the point that although the announced fine of 600dhs isn't very high for a few, that might change with the income->fine change.

I hear far too many stories of people who laugh about getting 18K in fines per year.

Anonymous said...

I hear far too many stories of people who laugh about reading Dubai's rules and regulations acumen.

Duffy said...

We had this problem in the US and solved it by putting cement dividers between the bus lane and the regular lanes. They are express lanes which lead only to the bus depot once you're on them. Pretty much solved the problem.

Anonymous said...

Cement dividers would work well, and they used that in some parts of Arizona where people just didnt car.

600 dirhams? In some instances I will gladly pay 600 to not sit in traffic. So basically it will be an express lane for me! Very good idea!

Anonymous said...
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Doug said...

In some instances I will gladly pay 600 to not sit in traffic. So basically it will be an express lane for me! Very good idea!

See? This is why all us nasty Westerners who "if we don't like it, leave" always bitch about anything that ever happens in Dubai - because we all know the standard F. you attitude your average Emirati has to anything that suggests there are more important things that themselves ruins it all.

Maybe if you just showed a bit of social consideration once in a while you wouldn't end up in quite so many traffic jams or engulfed in flames as you irresponsibly hurtle your overpowered sports car into the central reservation.

Seriously, you're like bloody children sometimes.

alexander... said...

An education campaign for a couple of weeks. I look forward to the radio ads:

"Hi. I'm boossy the bus lane! Buses use me so that you can get to work fast! Don't drive in me, you will get in the way of me!"

With lots of irrelevant sound effects, of course. Then we will all be considered 'educated' and 'informed' and can enjoy watching traffic using the bus, Altima, FJ, Cruiser and Patrol lane.

Seabee said...

Alex that sounds about right. Then when the 'campaign' is over they'll be saying "everybody knows" about the rules.

CG said...

Great, they are campaigning for bus lanes before they campaign for childrens car seats. They really have their priorities in the wrong place.

rosh said...

It's a healthy 'beginning'. That said, more often than not, in some places certain things just work better backwards..perhaps.