Bus travel from Oman to the UAE is being relaunched with a service connecting Muscat to Abu Dhabi via Al Ain.
The service will begin on October 1, according to Mwasalat, Oman’s national transport company.
A one-way ticket costs 11.5 Omani riyals (Dh109.70) and passengers will be able to check up to 23kg of luggage and carry hand baggage of up to 7kg.
Eyes on Sharjah
Mwasalat will also soon expand its bus service to Sharjah, Mwasalat’s chief executive told The National.
The company plans to inaugurate the Muscat to Sharjah route this year, responding to the escalating demand from passengers. This expansion will further enhance transport options for travellers seeking connectivity to destinations within the UAE.
“We are actively co-ordinating with different stakeholders to operate another route from Muscat to Sharjah, driven by the growing demand from our passengers,” said Badar Al Nadabi, chief executive of Mwasalat Oman.
The resumption of bus services to the UAE, with the launch of the Muscat-Abu Dhabi route via Al Ain is a strategic move and part of Mwasalat's broader vision to connect Oman with key neighbouring cities, particularly in the UAE, where there is a significant demand for convenient and cost-effective passenger transport.
"We have introduced the Muscat-Abu Dhabi route as part of Mwasalat’s strategy to connect Oman with main cities in neighbouring countries especially the UAE, as we believe there are recognised demands to commute passengers to different destinations within the UAE,” Mr Al Nadabi said.
He said the newly launched bus service to Abu Dhabi will operate in collaboration with another company.
“Passengers will travel with Mwasalat until Al Ain, where they will seamlessly transition to a Capital Express bus, which will take them to Abu Dhabi.”
Although the service to Dubai has yet to begin, the provision of a bus service to Abu Dhabi brings relief to travellers from Oman seeking cheaper transport options.
“I was looking forward to this news for a very long time. I have my own business and I live in Oman but I travel regularly to the UAE for work,” said Oman resident Hasan Syed.
“They stopped the service in the pandemic and it was very difficult for me to travel because the bus was more affordable for me.”
He did, however, have one gripe about the new service.
“There are some airlines which offer very attractive pricing for air travel between Muscat and Abu Dhabi, so the bus fare should be reconsidered,” he said.
“There are low-budget airlines offering competitive air fares, so perhaps Mwasalat should considering revising their prices to make it more competitive.”
Wizz Air, for example, currently offers one-way flights from Muscat to Abu Dhabi for Dh59, or 6.18 Omani riyals.
“Choosing the bus service is notably more economical than booking a flight to the UAE, besides Mwasalat is a reliable transport company,” said George Mathew, another resident of Oman.
“About three months ago, a friend and I intended to travel to the UAE, but the high airfare and the suspension of Mwasalat's bus service deterred us.
“I am now hoping for the resumption of the Dubai route, as it remains a popular choice for travellers commuting between Muscat and Dubai.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Mwasalat halted service to the UAE, and regular passengers had to look elsewhere for transport options.
However, the newly introduced route to Abu Dhabi via Al Ain is set to provide travellers in Oman with a convenient and less expensive transport option, with services commencing on October 1.
Buses will depart from the Azaiba bus station in Muscat at 6.30am and arrive at Abu Dhabi bus station at 3.40pm, with several stops and breaks on the route. Buses will depart Abu Dhabi at 10.45am and arrive at the Azaiba bus station at 8.35pm.
Tickets can be booked on the Mwasalat website.