BY MATOVU A. TWAHA
THE Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has given way for private car owners who want to share with people commuting to work in the same direction be carried without penalty.
"But you have to register first through our website, www.sharekni.ae, in order for us to connect you to people taking the same direction," said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dubai Taxi Agency and Acting CEO of the Public Transport Agency, Engineer Abdul-Aziz Malik while launching Sharekni, also known as Carpooling project on July 22.
Flanked by a host of top RTA officials at the main office of the Public Transport Agency in Al Muhaisnah, Abdul Aziz explained in detail of how the exercise that is "geared toward reducing traffic congestion" shall work.
"The initiative cites two or more commuters from the same workplace or adjacent workplaces will carpool using one car or rotating to use a number of cars to and from their residences," he said.
"This initiative's website will be allotted for those interested in benefiting from this service. They can do so by registering in the website to submit their entries and the entries of the commuters who would be transiting with them. The Public Transport Agency would maintain a database of the subscribers, car owners searching for subscribers and the commuters who search for car owners with whom they may travel to and from their residences," he said of the arrangement similar to arranged marriage.
"The RTA would match the data and guide those who wish to register and take advantage of this service," added Abdul Aziz of the initiative that will be for free, but those who share the car shall be left to negotiate the details amongst themselves.
However, there is a caveat on the agreements amongst the commuters: "Cash exchange is not allowed between the passengers and the car owner; however the car owner can be compensated by paying the gas price."
This is one of the robust steps the agency has taken "after a very long study" in its effort to reduce traffic jams borne out of over use of private cars.
"Our specialised work team in the Public Transport Agency in collaboration with a global consulting firm found out that the number of car occupancy is 1.6 person per one private car and this is one of the factors that is worsening the problem of traffic jams on the streets and roads of Dubai," said Abdul Aziz.
The Acting Director of Planning and Business Development at the Public Transport Agency, Mohammed Bin Fahad said that "this strategic initiative will bring about many benefits for individuals, society, environment and organisations."
"It will lower the costs the commuter incurs by transporting in one car such as the expenses of gas and vehicle maintenance because of the frequent daily use."
Asked whether the RTA shall give out some incentives to the individuals who offer their vehicles out for Carpooling, Mohammed Bin Fahd said; "The incentive is in legalisation of transporting people after registering."
He said that the agency has been having a lot of complaints in this regard, "now this is the way of dealing with this issue." He ruled out the possibility of duping the RTA. "our inspectors shall be able to verify thee passengers to prove they're the ones registered for the vehicle in question and no vehicle shall be allowed to take multiple people." Each vehicle is allowed up to the maximum of four same passengers subject for renewal after six months.
Source: Gulf Today