Abu Dhabi: Fare evasion has long been a common offence on Abu Dhabi’s public buses, and commuters will now be charged Dh200 if found travelling without paying the correct fare, a senior official at the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport has said.
The fine came into effect following a new set of bus travel regulations announced by the Department in December 2017, which also included fare discounts for children and the elderly.
“Fare evasion has been the most common violation noted on public buses, but the introduction of the new penalties has helped curb its frequency,” the official, who declined to be named, told Gulf News.
A total of 25 other violations while using public transport have also been enumerated in the Department’s updated list of violations, including using buses to transport hefty pieces of luggage or biked.
In addition, commuters who sell their own bus transport cards, known as Hafilat, to others will be fined Dh500, and a similar fine will apply if a commuter cannot produce a Hafilat card when requested by an inspector.
Bus fares have been maintained at affordable rates by the Department since the introduction of the local and intercity public services in 2008.
Currently, fares are set at Dh2 for local routes, and start at Dh2 with 5 fils for every additional kilometre on suburban routes.
Intercity route fares start at Dh10, with 10 fils per additional kilometes.
In addition, those aged over 55 years and children under the age of 10 years can now travel free on local and suburban bus services.
They also need to pay only half the regular fare when commuting on an intercity route.
“To avail of these discounts, eligible residents can apply for the Hafilat senior citizen card at any bus station in the emirate. They must provide a copy of their passport and Emirates ID, along with a passport photo and Dh5 registration fee," the official explained.
"Children are not required to apply for cards, but those aged below Dh12 years must be accompanied by a guardian, who should be carrying documentary proof of the child’s age,” the official added.
At present, commuters can purchase Hafilat cards at a number of locations, including the main bus terminal in the capital city and the Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The current fleet includes 547 public buses distributed among 135 bus services in the emirate. The capital city has 24 local routes, and 55 that connect to the suburbs.
There are eight local services in Al Ain city, and 13 suburban routes. In Al Dhafra, there are 14 local routes, and 11 suburban services.
The Department also operates 10 intercity routes, including one from Al Ain and nine from Al Dhafra.
To purchase a Hafilat card or a senior citizen permit, residents must present provide a copy of their passport and Emirates ID, along with a passport photo and Dh5 registration fee.
They can obtain the cards from any of the following locations: Abu Dhabi main bus terminal, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Bani Yas bus station, Shahama bus station, Mussafah bus station, Al Ain bus station, Al Sila bus station, Ghayathi bus station, Liwa bus station, Madinat Zayed bus station, Ruwais bus station, Tarif bus station, Jabal Al Dhanna bus station
Violations and fares
Dh200 for failing to pay the correct fare
Dh500 for using or buying another commuter’s Hafilat card
Dh500 for failing to produce a Hafilat card when requested by an inspector
Dh200-Dh2,000 for other violations, including allowing a child below 12 years to travel unaccompanied, transporting bikes, pets or hefty pieces of luggage, eating or smoking, carrying inflammatory substances or alcohol, damaging public property, and disturbing fellow passengers or the driver.