RAK commuters call for more bus routes to connect them to other emirates

Travellers say they face gruelling journeys to Abu Dhabi and Fujairah if they do not have access to a car

Ras al Khaimah - August 2, 2010 - Buses at the RAK Transport  Authority taxi and bus station in Ras al Khaimah, August 2, 2010. (Photo by Jeff Topping/The National)
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Residents in Ras Al Khaimah reliant on public transport have called for more direct bus routes to be introduced to connect them to the rest of the country.

Commuters - many of whom do not own a car or cannot afford taxi fees to travel outside of the emirate - say they are currently put off travelling to Abu Dhabi and Fujairah by gruelling journey times.

Passengers can use buses to reach Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah and Dubai from Ras Al Khaimah's bus station on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Salim Street.

But they said there are no direct routes connecting them to the remaining two emirates, leaving them with arduous journeys via Dubai or Sharjah.

“Using the bus is much cheaper than using a taxi to reach other emirates as the maximum that I pay for the bus is Dh25 but with a taxi I will pay a lot more than that,” said Amal Sarraf, a 59-year-old Egyptian resident, who uses the bus every week to visit her grandchildren in Ajman.

“I live with my son in RAK and I go to visit my daughter every Thursday to spend time with my grandchildren during the weekend,” she said.

“I have another daughter living in Abu Dhabi which I don’t see much as my son can’t always take me to her and there is no direct bus to Abu Dhabi from Ras Al Khaimah but I wish they will assign one soon,” said Ms Sarraf.

Another bus user said that he needs about five hours to reach Abu Dhabi if the roads are traffic free.

“I have some friends in Abu Dhabi and we don’t see each other much due to the lack of direct transportation to the emirate,” said Roberto Asejo, a Filipino lifeguard working in RAK.

“I need to go to Sharjah from RAK and then take another bus to Abu Dhabi, so it’s not that easy compared to having a direct bus to Abu Dhabi while the taxi will take a lot of money to drive me there,” he said.

Mr Asejo also said that people travelling to Fujairah encounter similar issues.

“Although it takes around an hour and thirty minutes to reach Fujairah by car, it takes more than four hours by bus as you need to go to Sharjah or Dubai and take another bus to Fujairah,” he said.

“I hope that public transportation will cover all the emirates, as doing this will encourage us to visit our family members and friends who live there,” said Mr Asejo.