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Traffic and Immigration in Qatar

Among the major issues that expats face in Qatar are related to transportation and immigration policies.

Qatar is one of the countries that are highly dependent on foreign workers, despite the fact, the immigration law of the country has been complex until the New Immigration Law came into enactment in 2017. The new law gave a bit clarity about provisions of exit, entry, residence and citizenship.

Traffic is another issue that occupied Qatar’ greatly. As per the last Qatar Traffic Report commuters spent an average of 109 extra hours on roads due to traffic congestion in Qatar in 2016 as against 102 extra hours in 2015. The increasing traffic congestions were caused due to various reasons increase in number of automobiles, construction blockades, diversions, lack of infrastructure and so on. As Ashghal is moving ahead with it’s ‘sustainable infrastructure drive ‘the construction diversions may again prove to be a major issue.

In order to understand the performances of the existing immigration and traffic services, the Department of Planning and Quality in the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has started a survey seeking opinion on the services provided by the General Directorate of Borders Passports and Expatriates Affairs, the unified services department at the Mesaimeer Service Center, and the General Directorate of Traffic in Madinat Khalifa-South.

The objective of the survey is to gain feedback on the services provided by the government departments to the expats and is to run till Thursday. The survey teams are distributing questionnaires, which include questions about the procedures carried out by the Department of Expatriate Affairs, the Department of Standard Services, and the General Directorate of Traffic.

The questions will be focussed on reception of people, speed of completion of their transactions and the response to their inquiries by staff and officers. Moreover the question will also seeks opinion on the facilities provided by the departments, including the provision of suitable waiting places for visitors, car parking, and services for people with special needs.

As per Telecommunications Department Director Brig Abdul Rahman Majid al Sulaiti statement in Qatar Tribune “The MoI attaches great importance to such surveys as it has an effective role in supporting the decision-making process and identifying the efficiency of the services, its shortcomings and obstacles to the termination of transactions through the electronic systems provided by the MoI on its website and the service of Metrash2.”

The survey will focus on understanding user experience of people to develop the efficiency of services, the extent of their knowledge about the availability of services provided by the departments and at the same time is also an effort to motivate them to complete their transactions online.

Though this is an initiative to take feedback from the people for improving the existing services online and offline, it will only be effective if considerable number of people participate in the survey and their feedback gets due consideration for improving the policy process later.

 

 

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Updated with comment from Ashghal

A lack of signage on Qatar’s new G-Ring Road and the sudden closure of the Barwa Village traffic signal is making it harder for Wakrah/Wukair residents to get home this week.

Since yesterday, residents have been venting their frustration about traffic jams in the area on a new Twitter hashtag called طريق_الوكرة_أزمة_ربو# (roughly, Al Wakrah Asthma Crisis).

(Translation: A man representing Ashghal pushes a roadblock onto Al Wakrah Road.)

Meanwhile, on Facebook, one commenter complained about a lack of signage while he was heading to Al Wakrah on G-Ring Road.

He ended up missing the exit. Because several other exits are not yet open, he ended up having to drive to the East Industrial Area before heading back, resulting in an hourlong detour.

Metro construction

Complicating matters is a new diversion that took effect on Al Wakrah’s Main St. this week due to Doha Metro works.

Qatar Rail

New diversion

The detour funnels traffic to smaller side streets parallel to the main road.

It is in place until June 2018, while Qatar Rail works on building a pedestrian underpass.

However, on Monday Ashghal tweeted that this diversion will be postponed for now, and all lanes have been reopened on Wakrah Road.

It added that new roads would open in the coming months to improve traffic on G-Ring for Wakrah motorists.

Ashghal

Upcoming Wakrah/Wukair links

This includes:

  • The May opening of a bridge from Najma St. behind Barwa Village, which will connect RasBuFentas St. coming from Abdulla Abdulghani roundabout;
  • The June opening of the Al Wakra bypass, which will connect traffic coming from Mesaieed Road with G-Ring and F-Ring roads; and
  • The July launch of the Al Wukair bypass, which will provide a direct connection between Mesaieed Road and G-Ring Road.

Have you been affected by the congestion? Thoughts?

Chantelle D'Mello / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Commuters in Qatar spent an average of 4.5 days on the roads last year, thanks to traffic congestion.

Up seven hours from the year before, the wasted time equates to an economic loss of about QR6 billion, or about 1 percent of the country’s GDP.

That’s according to the Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC), which released its second annual Qatar Traffic Report this week.

The report tries to quantify the impact traffic jams have on the country using more than a billion data records.

These are collected through QMIC’s network of traffic sensors, cars outfitted with GPS devices and information from users of its iTraffic (Masarak) mobile app.

Worst locations and times

QMIC highlighted several routes that are particularly congested during the morning rush hour.

Ameer Abdul Razak/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

According to the Gulf Times, they include:

  • Al Sadd Intersection-Olympic Roundabout;
  • Musheireb Interchange, B Ring Road;
  • Onaiza Intersection-Lekhwiya Intersection, Al Markhiya Street;
  • Umm Ghuwalina Intersection-Al Sharq Intersection, C-Ring Road; and
  • Al Waab Intersection to Al Bustan St.

During the evening, the most congested areas were:

  • Environment Roundabout Duhail Intersection, Al Khafji Street;
  • To Television Roundabout, Ahmed Bin Ali Street;
  • Al Sadd Intersection-Olympic Roundabout, Jawaan Street;
  • To Al Waab Intersection, Al Bustan Street; and
  • Lejbailat Intersection-Television Roundabout, Al Jamiaa Street.

The worst day of the week for traffic is Sunday mornings, and the most congested month last year was October.

However, traffic jams appeared to improve as the year went on. This suggests that newly completed road projects are starting to help traffic flow, QMIC said.

Three more years

According to the Peninsula, traffic officials sought to reassure residents about the new data, saying conditions are only temporary.

Qatar Rail

Doha Metro rendering

The newspaper quoted Traffic Department chief Brig. Mohammed Saad Al Kharji as saying things would improve within the next three years, after all major road projects are completed.

He added:

“The study is shocking for sure, but I believe the real figures will come when all roads are opened, railway projects commenced and public transport expanded.

We have to be patient for the time being. I used to give an example to explain this situation. For example someone is sick and the doctor told him that he needs surgery and it will take a month for recovery. The patient will undergo the operation and wait for recovery.”

Thoughts?