Eco-conscious commuters can get on their bike and on the bus under a new Abu Dhabi public transport trial aiming to support last-mile journeys.
The capital's Integrated Transport Centre has announced the launch of a public bus service that provides space for riders to bring their bikes on board.
The initiative is part of a drive to provide suitable alternatives to cars to reduce congestion and cut emissions.
People whose routes to work, home or leisure destinations are not fully served by the public transport network, for example, could hop on a bus before completing the final leg of the trip on two wheels.
The bike-friendly service will connect Al Reem Island and Hudayriat Island.
"ITC seeks to support and expand joint efforts to make physical activity and sustainable mobility a part of the daily routine to improve quality of life," said a statement on state news agency Wam.
The authority said bike racks on the service will ensure "the safe and easy stability of bikes without obstructing the internal movement of passengers".
"The new service promotes sustainable transportation and supports the ‘first and last mile.’ It also helps the economic model of cities by facilitating movement from home to work or sports and leisure destinations for all members of the community," the statement said.
Green scheme unveiled
Under the initial stage of the project, six buses will be deployed on the new route, which starts at Al Reem Island and passes Abu Dhabi landmarks such as the Central Bus Station, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, Zayed Educational Complex, Marsana Beach, Bab Al Nojoum Camp and 321 Sports.
The service is identified by a bike symbol beside the service number.
The no 73 bus service operates in both directions from 6am until midnight during the week, every 30 minutes during peak periods and every hour at off-peak times.
For more information, visit www.itc.gov.ae, use the ‘Darbi’ smart app, or call the Department of Municipalities and Transport’s Service Support Centre toll-free number 800 850.
Geared up for change
The move is in line with a nationwide switch to more environmentally-friendly transport.
In November, Abu Dhabi was named a “Bike City” by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
It joined the likes of Bergen in Norway, Copenhagen, the Danish capital, Glasgow in Scotland and the French capital of Paris.
The UCI is the world governing body for sport cycling and the categorisation recognised Abu Dhabi’s efforts to promote cycling, said Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, on accepting the prestigious accolade.
“Through visionary thinking, the emirate has developed state-of-the-art sport and community facilities that help enhance Abu Dhabi’s position as one of the world’s most liveable cities,” he said.
“This exciting new chapter for the emirate will see Abu Dhabi achieve even greater heights in its work to drive sustainability across all areas of life, to advance dynamic urban development and to create as many opportunities as possible for people to live healthy, active lives.”
Last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid inspected a new bicycle path at Dubai's Jumeirah Beach.
The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai took to two wheels to test the path, which is a new stretch of cycle track that runs 16 kilometres along Jumeirah Beach.
Once fully complete, it will connect the existing Jumeirah Street cycle track – parallel to the canal – with the cycle track alongside Dubai Internet City.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, in June announced plans to build the track.
The new path is part of a Dh400 million ($108m) strategy to make cycling in the emirate safer.