West Bay free transport smart cards distributed23 March 2015
The Ministry of Transport started issuing smartcards for the free West Bay shuttle bus service launched by the Ministry last year in a bid to overcome traffic jams, facilitate travel of commuters and resolve car park problems in that area. Smartcards are being issued to employees of the Ministries of Justice and Municipality and Urban Planning, Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy. The Ministry of Transport considers this move as part of a campaign promoting the use of public transport as an alternative to single occupancy private and taxi vehicles. The Ministry hopes the service, will help customers visiting shopping malls and various ministries, government agencies and service departments spreading in the Towers Zone, and enable them complete their transactions and services in shorter time. Although the service is free of charge, passengers must use Karwa smartcards to take the shuttle buses so that the ministry can collect and analyze data on the service. The Ministry pointed out that the cards may also be used for other public transport buses provided they are topped up at Karwa smartcard outlets, Ooredoo or at the main bus stations. It is worth noting that the Ministry has widened shuttle bus road lanes at West Bay to improve services for visitors and residents of the area. The shuttle service works on 2 routes, dubbed the red line and the blue line. The blue line starts from Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex and travels along the International Convention Center, the Towers Zone, Ministry of Justice, Ashghal, Sheraton Hotel, the Hotels Area up to City Center and back to Khalifa Tennis Complex. The red line starts from the General Post Office and goes to the Hotels Area, the ministries opposite City Center and back to the Car park at the General Post Office. The Ministry aims to make public transport more efficient and attractive with the understanding that public transport contributes positively to the economy, and that sustainable transport will eventually improve upcoming generations' quality of life and achieve environmental justice. The Ministry is keen to promote a culture of public transport in densely populated areas through diversification of convenient and comfortable services for residents and visitors. The Ministry strives to implant the concept of sustainable transport as a safe solution that helps avoiding congestions and traffic jams, and facilitates transactions for customers at the ministries and banks located in West Bay.