Exponential Growth in Public Bus Ridership
Public bus ridership has risen by 40% from 2015 to the end of 2018. This is ascribed to significant enhancement works carried out by the Ministry of Transport and Communications to boost the performance efficiency of the public bus service and increase ridership, in coordination with Mowasalat “Karwa”.
The enhancement works have taken the form of introducing new bus routes to cover new destinations and improving and optimizing existing ones. MOTC has implemented five new Airport Bus express services, linking Al Khor, the Pearl, West Bay, Al Matar Al Qadeem and the industrial areas to Hamad International Airport.
These enhancements have proven so popular that ridership to and from HIA has increased by nearly 90% over the last year and exceeded one million passengers, compared to 2017.
MOTC has also developed and enhanced existing bus routes. This has included the buses covering the areas of the West Bay, the Pearl and Lagoona Mall. Improvements have also included more frequent timetables, improvements to Smartcard purchase and top-up options, and increased marketing and information about bus services, including the development and launch of the Karwa Bus mobile application.
Additionally, a network of Doha Metro “Metrolink” feeder bus routes have been established to support Metro operations. 24 new routes have been introduced since April 2019, transporting people to and from Red Line stations in the West Bay area to Al Wakra.
25 more routes will be launched when the other two Doha Metro lines enter service; 10 routes for the Green Line and 15 for the Gold Line. The Metroexpress service has been also launched for metro users in the West Bay area as part of efforts to providing integrated transportation solutions. Metroexpress is a free trial ride-sharing service, currently covering the West Bay QIC and DECC station areas.
Meanwhile, the infrastructure facilities that support public bus operations are being developed and improved in association with the bodies concerned. Development works include the establishment of four new locations for buses in Al Qassar, Al Wakra, Lusail City and Education City, opening up 5 new bus stops in the Al Sudan area, Lusail City, Al Wakra, the Industrial Area, Msheireb and Gharaffa and the establishment of four new bus depots that will have bus stops, bus care centers and housing and recreational facilities for the operating company’s staff.
Moreover, some 627 electric buses and their associated charging equipment will be imported and put in operation during 2020. By so doing, Qatar will become the first country in the region to have a full fleet of electric buses for public transit. The move to procure electric buses represents MOTC’s strong commitment to sustainable and environment-friendly public transportation, aiming to make all public buses in Qatar electric by 2030.