A new complimentary hop-on, hop-off bus service that caters to the blue-collar population will launch in the Industrial area tomorrow, state transportation operator Mowasalat has said.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Mowasalat CEO Khalid Nasser Al-Hail said that the shuttles were part of the company’s plan to enhance and promote a culture of mass transportation in Qatar.
He added that he hoped that the service, which will operate from 4am to midnight, would benefit workers from lower-income brackets.
Though no route map is currently available, shuttles will have brochures explaining the buses’ circuit. There are no specified stops along the routes, as passengers are free to hop on or off at their will.
However, Mowasalat has also said that buses will make mandatory stops at the central bus station, malls in the Industrial area and at big mosques during Friday prayers.
Encouraging public transportation
The move comes over a year after the company rolled out hop-on hop-off buses in West Bay to help ease traffic congestion.
Though hailed at the time, those shuttles, which operate from 6am to 11:45pm, don’t appear to be heavily used by people working and living in that area.
However, this new service is expected to be better-received, as many living and working in the Industrial Area already use public transportation.
According to officials, the hop-on hop-off service took three months to plan, and followed several studies carried out by Mowasalat to identify ways to minimize waiting times at existing bus stops, and to provide faster transportation within the area.
Ultimately, the company hopes to phase out bus routes that take commuters between Doha and the streets of the Industrial Area.
Instead, those heading to or leaving the Industrial Area would avail of the shuttles and could catch the regular buses on the outskirts of the area, a Mowasalat spokesperson told Doha News.
Mowasalat has allocated a fleet of some 30 full-size buses to serve as shuttles at various routes in the Industrial Area, though only 13 would be operational at any given time.
“If a bus breaks down or gets stuck, we will send another bus immediately,” the spokesperson said.
Commuters and residents with vehicles can park their cars at two designated hubs – one at the intersection of Salwa Road and Industrial Area (Street 1), and another at the intersection of the Abu Hamour Road and Industrial Area (Street 52) – before boarding a shuttle.
Two concurrent bus systems will be in play once the service launches tomorrow.
Buses that are both numbered and colored will follow five main routes within the Industrial Area. Buses that only have colored placards will take passengers to their destinations within these areas.
Buses with green placards and the number 88 will go between streets 1 and 52, while buses with pink, orange, blue or red placards will travel routes 16, 18, 61, and 81.