Everything you need to know about Dubai's new tram
Anyone within eye or earshot of Jumeirah's Beach Residence and Dubai Marina on Tuesday was treated to a surprise fireworks display around 6pm – as the celebrations for the first official tram ride got underway. Fireworks went off at every single tram station, and Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan inaugrated the impressive new transport system – which is the first tram outside of Europe powered entirely by on-ground electric cables.
After initially being planned for completion in 2009, when the first phase of the Dubai Metro was completed, it was first delayed until 2012, before being delayed by a further 2 years due to the downturn in the global economic climate. In 2013 Sheikh Mohammed officially unveiled the designs for the interiors of the trains and stations and it was revealed that the tram would finally be ready for 2014.
At the inauguration on Tuesday evening, Saeed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, said: "It's great day for Dubai. It's a wonderful project and it will go a long way in resolving traffic in the area. It will add value to transport system of Dubai as it is new mode of transport to the region, not only for people in the area but visitors will also enjoy it."
Ahmad Hashem Behroozian, CEO of RTA's Licensing Agency, added: "This is as historic an occasion for Dubai as the launch of Dubai Metro. We are excited about it and believe this will give more options for people to choose from. Dubai Tram is more convenient and it will help both tourists and residents to travel more freely."
UAE telecom service Du also announced that it would provide free WiFi services to anyone using the tram on the first two days of its launch (November 12 and 13) and details about the timings, pricing and routes were confirmed.
Not only is the Dubai Tram the first to use ground-based electric cables extending throughout the tramway outside of Europe, it is the first system in the world to use platform screen doors, which synchronise with the opening and closing of the tram doors to provide additional safety to passengers. The new transport project is also the first tram to offer air-conditioned stations and different cabin classes.
Stretching over 10.6 kilometres, the Dubai Tram serves 11 stations at a 10 minutes interval during peak times and 12 minutes interval at off-peak times. Each of the trams can accommodate up to 405 riders in 11 carriages including gold, women & children, and silver cabins. The 11 stations include: JBR 1, JBR 2, JLT, Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina, Marina Towers, Mina Siyahi, Dubai Media City, the Palm Jumeirah, Knowledge Village, and Safouh.
Footbridges have been constructed to link the Dubai Tram and Dubai Metro at two stations – Damac Properties and JLT. The tramway also intersects with the monorail of the Palm Jumeirah at the entrance of the Palm, Safouh Street where a multi-level parking lot is available to serve tram and monorail users.
The Dubai Tram runs a similar ticketing system to its international counterparts and uses the same tickets that are available for the Dubai Metro. Pricing depends on the zones being travelled and annual passes of various tier structures are also available.
Working in shifts, a team of 35 drivers will operate the trams for 19 hours a day. From Saturday–Thursday the Dubai Tram runs from 06.30am to 1.30 am. On Fridays the service starts at 09.00am and ends at 1.30am.
Now that phase one is well underway, Dubai's public transport agency is expected to start work on the second phase of the project. Part two of the ambitious tram system will extend 14.6 kilometres along Sufouh Street and add 6 stations to phase one's original 11. The tram fleet also compromises 11 trams at present for phase one – with 14 trams to be added for phase two, bringing the total trams to 25. The Dubai Tram expects to serve 27,000 passengers during this first phase, and increase to an estimated 66,000 by 2020.