UAE may ban all passenger minibuses by 2023
A proposal to ban minibuses on UAE roads has been submitted to the Ministry of Interior (MoI), as per Khaleej Times, and if approved, will be implemented in three years.
The Federal Traffic Council (FTC), which is chaired by Major-General Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen of Dubai Police, recommended that all passenger-carrying minibuses be banned by January 2023 and those used to transport students be removed by September 2021 country-wide.
Apparently around 50,000 minibuses are currently on the roads and they account for 15% of accidents.
As per the Major-General, minibuses are not equipped with basic safety features that most cars have and usually carry 14 passengers who sit too close together, making them more unsafe in accidents.
Minibuses are already speed-limited to 100 kph, but the accidents involving multiple victims keep on happening. In Dubai, minibuses are already banned from being used as school buses since 2016.
The Major-General said that once the proposal is by the MoI, minibuses will be limited to transporting goods.
Minibuses certainly have been dangerous for decades thanks to the proliferation of empty-shell Toyota Hiaces with almost no safety features dominating the market, but while manufacturers such as Ford introduced much safer vehicles in the UAE, and the new-generation Hiace finally grows a front-end crash structure, it may be a case of too-little-too-late as the potential ban will thankfully take all the older minibuses off the road.