The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) in Abu Dhabi announced the implementation of the executive regulation for operating passengers’ transport services by buses in the emirate, which aims to increase the level of passengers’ safety, and regulate passenger transport activities using rented buses, privately hired buses, tourist buses along with public buses, and to clarify the responsibilities and duties of all entities operating in this sector. The implementation of the regulation is part of the continuous efforts made by the ITC to establish a safe and sustainable transport environment that improves the quality of services provided to members of society and supports the local development in its various aspects.

As part of its continuous effort to improve the quality of services provided to individuals and companies operating in the field of mass transport and support the digital transformation process in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the ITC indicated that all services related to passenger transport by buses would be available on Asateel’s Platform in accordance with the provisions of the new executive regulations for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The “Asateel” platform is an electronic system linked to tracking software and a central database that allows knowing the location of vehicles by connecting to the tracking devices. It supports the concerned bodies in tracking the movement of their vehicles and specifying their locations in real-time, streamlining the operations, and monitoring drivers’ compliance with traffic rules, which aim to enhance security and safety on the roads. This also enables them to analyse vehicle movement data and use it in planning processes and decision making, as well as extracting performance indicators for both operators and drivers. Among the platform’s requirements is creating a link with the electronic system, which can be achieved through installing and operating electronic tracking devices in vehicles, or using pre-existing devices or systems used in the vehicle on the condition that they comply with the approved technical requirements.

The regulation applies to all bus operators that operate in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi whether the buses are registered in or out of Abu Dhabi.  The regulation consists of the terms that are regulating passengers’ transport by buses, the terms and conditions of practising this activity, the requirements to issue public and tourist bus drivers’ permits, standard specifications of the bus and the penalties in case of failure to abide by the rules followed in this sector. The regulation also doesn’t contain any fees and all services related to permits are provided free of charge.

The regulation stipulates that practising the activities in this field is prohibited to companies or entities without obtaining a permit from ITC first. According to the regulations, ITC is permitted to authorise the operation of buses registered out of Abu Dhabi for different durations. In addition to specifying the number of other requirements that must be adhered to, the regulation prohibits operating buses that are not equipped with air conditioners or do not match the standards and specifications approved by DMT.

In this context, the ITC stated that all operational companies and entities working in the field of public transport by buses or any other related activities, should fulfil all requirements according to the provision of the regulation and request an operation permit from the ITC and an operating licence for each bus, as well as obtain a “driver profession permit” for public and tourist bus drivers affiliated with the entity applying for the permit. It is also worth noting that the services for this activity are available on the website of the “Asateel” platform.

Whereas previous permits which are still valid are accepted at the moment. Upon expiration, the concerned entity should apply for a new one according to the terms stated in the executive regulation. Operators must also provide the technical requirements to ensure security and safety.

Other requirements state that the operating companies should provide insurance covering both drivers and passengers, in addition to keeping regular records of the number of working hours and breaks, and preparing detailed programs for regular maintenance for buses and stopping the bus in designated areas.

The ITC will offer companies operating in this field a grace period that extends up to 1st August 2022 to realign themselves with the provisions and stipulations of the regulation.

Additionally, the ITC mentioned that implementing the regulation in the public transport by buses will result positively as it will enhance the safety of the passengers and encourage the investment in the passengers’ transport sector as it protects the operational companies’ rights. It also prevents the illegal transport of passengers because of what harm it may cause, decreases traffic accidents, offers a variety of transport options and provides the public with modern buses featuring high environmental standards.

The Public Transport Inspection Section in the Bus Transport Division in ITC supervises and monitors the implementation of the regulation to report violations, request presenting the permit required for the public transport services and seek the assistance of police whenever is needed.

ITC stated that violators will be firmly dealt with in order to ensure the safety of the passengers, indicating that it is important for all stakeholders to cooperate in implementing the regulations and ensure the safety of the public.

To view the regulation guidelines and the schedule of violations and penalties, please visit the webpage of “Asateel” platform.