Some of the buses parked in the Khalifa International Tennis Complex parking area. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
Commuters, especially those with offices in West Bay, have urged the local authorities to make some changes in the operations of the newly-introduced shuttle bus service to make it a more attractive, and practical, travel option.
The service – the West Bay Bus – was launched to a lot of fanfare on January 15 with the aim of reducing congestion in the area.
Since then, however, the service has yet to attract many daily travellers, it is learnt.
The service was introduced jointly by the Ministry of Transport, Mowasalat, and the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP).
While 14 buses have been deployed to ferry office-goers and other visitors to various points in the commercial district, not many commuters seem to be aware of the circular bus service.
Hence, the problem of traffic congestion remains unresolved and long traffic jams continue to be a common sight, especially during the morning rush hour.
As of now, all circular bus operations, referred to as Blue Line and Red Line services, originate either from the parking area of the Khalifa International Tennis Complex or the Qatar Sports Club.
Most commuters contacted by Gulf Times over the past few days said that the existing arrangement mainly helps those who arrive by their own vehicles at either of the two places.
On the other hand, those parking their vehicles elsewhere, even if along the route of the services, have to wait for the buses coming from either the Khalifa International Tennis Complex or the Qatar Sports Club in order to reach their offices.
Many commuters suggested rescheduling of the two routes, saying that instead of concentrating all the buses at the two places, the authorities should look into operating the services to start from other main parking areas along their routes, such as the General Post Office grounds or the MMUP parking, opposite City Center Doha.
Many visitors to West Bay park their vehicles in such places and they have to wait for one of the buses in order to continue their journey within the area.
Similarly, some residents have also called for the introduction of non-stop bus services in the morning to the West Bay Towers Zone from major parking areas in the city, such as the grounds near Family Food Centre on Airport Road, Al Meera in Mansoura, near Gulf Cinema in Najma, and near Al Meera in Hilal, New Salata, Mamoura, Madinat Khalifa and Bin Omran.
They feel that such services, operating at 15-minute intervals between 6.30am and 9.30am, and then from West Bay to the above locations in the late afternoon, would help reduce the number of vehicles in the area.
Some daily commuters also said the authorities should consider introducing incentives for them.
“This would go a long way in attracting people to the West Bay circular service in the coming days,” one of them pointed out.