My blog promises to give you my view on the places I live. In this post we look at the public transport system. Al Ain is a big city area vice but way smaller than Dubai in population. So the only available means of public transport here is the Bus.
I want to do my part in saving the environment, which means having to endure the troubles of public travel. So here is the list of things wrong with buses in Al Ain.
1. They are not on time
2. Some specific buses are always late by more than 20 mins!
3. The buses are freezing! The bus drivers are have no idea how cold it is outside and they blast the air conditioning on super speeds. It's so strong you can hear it!
4. The call center employees are untrained and absolutely useless! I once called the operators to confirm the time written on schedule at the bus stop. After being on the phone for 10 mins she tells me there is no bus, even though the schedule one to be there. I thought maybe the timings have changed and that's why it shows a bus to be there at 6:06 pm. The operator tells me, the schedule hasn't changed. Which is strange because I took the same bus last week. After littering racking my brains I give up and call a cab. At 6:01 pm. At 6:03 pm the operator calls me back saying there is a bus at 6:06 pm and it should be there in 4 mins. I said okay and was about to keep the phone. But then I deduced to give her a piece of my mind about how irresponsible she was. I can afford to take a taxi, what about someone who can't? Maybe taking a taxi home means they can't eat dinner that night. A shame the government of Abu Dhabi is unable to maintain a simple helpline like the Dubai government. RTA in Dubai is doing a terrific job.
5. There are no clear maps or stops indicated at most bus stops. So if you are a new traveller, good luck getting home.
6. More often than not, the bus drivers are not aware of routes other than theirs. Which again is a menace especially if you are taking the bus from a new location. Back in Canada (where I used to study) every bus driver in the city of Waterloo knew where the other buses went. So you were never left stranded wondering which bus will take you home.
7. Rude drivers.
8. Bad frequency. Even in peak hours buses on popular routes are at an intermission of 30 mins. Which combined with the fact that they are late makes it even worse.
Public transport in Al Ain is so bad, that anytime I mention that I plan to take the bus I am warned against it. Now I know why!
Necessity makes you do things. If you don't want to drive like me and save the environment ride a bike, car pool or simply walk. If you are stuck taking a bus in Al Ain be prepared for the worse. If you need more info about routes and timings here is the not so helpful number of the public transport system, 800 88888 (toll free). The ride for most buses is AED 2 and 3 for some special ones.