Dubai public transport boom as 621 million journeys made in 2022

A growing population as well as major events such as Expo 2020 and the Fifa World Cup contributed to a 35 per cent rise

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More than 621 million journeys were made on Dubai public transport in 2022 — an increase of 35 per cent from the previous year.

The major surge came amid the emirate's continuing population boom and a robust recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic which heralded the widespread return of major events and conferences.

Dubai's population crossed 3.5 million in April 2022 and has grown by another 61,000 since, according to the Dubai Statistics Centre's live population counter.

Authorities laid on extra taxis and metro services during November's Fifa World Cup, to transport people to fan zones held across the city.

Expo 2020 Dubai — which concluded on March 31 of last year — enjoyed a spike in visitor numbers in its final months, many of whom will have used public transport to get to the world's fair site.

The Museum of the Future, which opened in February 2022, proved another popular attraction, welcoming one million visitors in its first year.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority said an average of 1.7 million trips were made each day in 2022 — up from 1.3 million in 2021 and almost double the 948,000 journeys made in 2020, during the height of Covid-19.

Dubai Metro, with 36 per cent of all trips, surpassed taxis — on 30 per cent — as the most popular mode of transport, ahead of public buses on 25 per cent.

The figures cover taxis, metro and tram services, buses and marine transport, such as water taxis and abras, and shared mobility, such as e-hail, smart car rentals and bus-on-demand services.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director General of the authority, said the figures were “a good indicator” of a shift towards mass public transport such as metro and bus services.

“Dubai Metro acquired the largest percentage of the public transport, shared transport and taxis ridership in 2022, amounting to 36 per cent, up by 3 per cent from the 2021 level of 33 per cent,' he said.

“It is a good indicator of people shifting to public transport modes that serve a growing number of riders. The share of public buses reached 25 per cent, and marine transport riders grew from 2 per cent in 2021 to 3 per cent in 2023.

“Meanwhile, shared mobility modes and Dubai Tram maintained their ridership levels, which amounted to 5 per cent for shared transport, and 1 per cent for Dubai Tram.

Dubai on the move for Expo finale

March 2022 saw a record 62 million journeys made, a month which coincided with the grand finale of Expo 2020 Dubai.

December was the next busiest month with 57 million trips, with the rest of the year ranging from 46 million to 56 million.

The RTA said the rise in public transport use reflected a “change and evolution in the culture and behaviour of the community towards using public transport.”

Dubai public transport 2022 — in numbers

*621.4 million journeys on public transport — up from 461 million in 2021

*225.1 million trips on Dubai Metro

*183 million rides in public taxis

*157.3 million journeys on public buses

*832.5 million trips by shared mobility, covering e-hail, smart car rentals and bus-on-demand services

*16 million trips on marine transport

*7.5 million rides on Dubai Tram

Updated: February 26, 2023, 11:06 AM