Posted on December 20, 2014

The continued arrival of workers for ongoing and upcoming infrastructure projects has led to a remarkable growth in the number of bus passengers in the country, it is learnt, said Gulf Times. Replying to queries from Gulf Times, Mowasalat officials said the last six months have seen a “remarkable rise” in the number of bus users in Qatar.

According to estimates, more than 240,000 residents use smartcards for travel on buses. The number keeps growing as the Mowasalat office at the Central Bus Station registers a large number of new cardholders almost every day. On weekends, the office issues around 1,500 new cards, with the figure sometimes going beyond 2,000. “People are aware of the utility of possessing a card," said a staff member at the bus station. He, however, added that some may not be using the card on a regular basis.

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While attributing the growth in smartcard use to the increased arrival of workers for new infrastructure projects in the country, a Mowasalat official said there has been a significant rise in the number of bus users on routes such as Doha-Al Khor-Doha, Doha-Industrial Area-Doha and between Hamad International Airport and the Central Bus Station. Another development is the increased use of bus services in the afternoon even on weekdays. Sources at the bus station said there has been a similar rise in passengers’ patronage of circular bus services and also to places such as Umm Salal, where new accommodation units for workers are coming up.

Company officials added that there has been a large increase in the number of bus passengers to the Religious Complex, Abu Hamour and its surrounding areas on Fridays. Buses on the route are operated at 30-minute intervals on Fridays. In the morning, services between the bus station and the Religious Complex receive the highest number of passengers. Meanwhile, some regular users feel there is a need to shift some operations from the Central Bus Station to some other location, especially in the afternoon on weekends, when the place becomes heavily crowded.

Also, there are calls from passengers to improve amenities at the bus station, which some of them term as “too old” for a fast-developing city.