The Dubai Tram is celebrating tomorrow (Wednesday 11/11/2015) the completion of one year of operation in great style marked by high-level operational efficiency, service punctuality, high safety and riders’ satisfaction rating as well as a considerable number of tram users who reached 3.725 million riders from the start of operations until the end of October 2015.
On 11/11/2014, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council, launched the official operation of the Dubai Tram. The service is run on a track stretching 11 km starting from the Marina and passing through JBR, Dubai Media City, Knowledge Village, and up to the Tram Depot near the Dubai Police Academy. The tram service is run by 11 trains shuttling between 11 stations situated in activity/densely populated areas.
HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), expressed delight with the occasion marked by huge successes of the Dubai Tram; a brainchild of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide an advanced transit system to serve the JBR, Marina and Al Sufouh.
“During the first year of operation, the Dubai Tram has achieved extremely high performance indicators where the on-time arrival indicator reached 96.4%, and the compliance with trips timetables indicator recorded 93%. The Tram has also achieved high rates in customers’ satisfaction rating amounting to 98%. The total number of riders served by the Tram since the start of operation till the end of last October clocked 3.725 million riders,” said Al Tayer.
“The Dubai Tram is primarily aimed at improving the mobility inside Dubai in general and areas of tourist & economic importance in particular. It has also added to the integrated mass transit systems in the Emirate, and provided a smooth & highly efficient transit mode within areas of business & tourist significance in Dubai city. It also supports the economy of the Emirate, and contributes to reducing carbon emissions, conserving the environment, and improving the living experience of residents,” he noted.
Over the past few months, the RTA has undertaken a number of initiatives & procedures to improve the safety level and increase the ridership of the Tram. In coordination with the General HQ of Dubai Police, the RTA has taken additional preventive measures to enhance the traffic safety level at signalized junctions on the tram route at the JBR where the movement of the tram overlaps with the movement of pedestrians and vehicles. Measures taken included closing some left-turns to enhance the traffic safety level at those junctions, increasing the distance to the left-turn on 414 intersection for traffic inbound from Qarn Al Sabkha in the direction of JBR, prohibiting the parking on sides of roads leading to the Walk, removing the bus stop at the intersection, and constructing a free lane on the right hand of the intersection. The RTA is monitoring the situation on daily basis to fix the trip timetable at the tram route before introducing traffic solutions. The same study will be conducted to compare the situation before and after the traffic solutions when the traffic movement is back to normal. The RTA has also provided additional parking space in the vicinity of stations to encourage people to use the Tram, and has built a parallel cycling lane extending 9 km along the tramway between Al Safouh Station and Dubai Media City Station. It has also ceased the Marina Loop service offering semi-circular tram network service at the JBR and the Marina. This step has cut short the total trip time from 54 minutes to 45 minutes, and reduced the service interval (headway) to 8 minutes.
Why Dubai Tram project?
The need for the Dubai Tram project was dictated by the changing layout and the investment map in the area rendering it of high tourist significance. Therefore HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, directed to carry out a study in 2005 to prepare integrated transit solutions. Through an international consultant, the RTA carried out a comprehensive study which concluded that the population density of the area will rise upon occupation of buildings constructed to 60,000 persons per square kilometer, whereas the average density in the current urban areas of Dubai city is 3,000 persons per square km i.e. the area will have 20 times the population density of urban Dubai districts. Accordingly, the number of trips generated from the area will be 64,000 trips during peak hour; which is close to the total number of trips generated from the entire Deira. Moreover, there is a limited space for right-of-way in the area coupled with a lack of car parks & entry/exit points and huge congestions even though the occupation rates were not full at that time; which is an indicator of even more congestions looming in future. The study concluded that the area needs integrated solutions including improvements of roads network & junctions and the development of an integrated mass transit system linked with Dubai Metro and Palm Jumeirah Monorail.
Features of Dubai Tram
The Dubai Tram is considered the first tramway project outside Europe powered by a ground-based electric supply system extending along the track, thus obviating the need for catenary cables. It is also the world’s first tramway that uses Platform Screen Doors in passenger stations fully aligned with the tram’s doors opening and shutting mechanism. It is also the first tram in the world that uses automated protection technology to provide maximum safety, security and convenience to riders, and the world’s first tram that has air-conditioned passenger stations as well as gold class cabins and cabins dedicated to ladies and children. The Dubai Tram has unique high-class internal finishing of coaches and deluxe stations. The tram is fitted with state-of-the-art transmission and display of information and recreational materials, and some of the tram stations were fitted with air-conditioned walkways with lifts and escalators. The project design has been tailored to suit all community segments including the disabled and seniors.
• The Dubai Tram extends 11 km along Al Sufouh Road starting from the Marina up to the Tram’s Depot nearby the Dubai Police Academy.
• The Tram network has11 stations distributed at densely populated and activity areas
• It has a fleet of 11 trams
• Each tram has seven coaches with a capacity to accommodate about 405 riders
• The Dubai Tram is linked with the Dubai Metro at two stations: Dubai Marina and the JLT offering integrated transit, and is also linked with the Palm Jumeirah Monorail.
• It has superior and luxurious finishing of both coaches and stations.
• The tram travels basically on the ground level at the side of Al Safouh Road and moves to an elevated section in certain locations at the Dubai Marina due to the nature of the urban environment of the area.
• The Dubai Tram has four air-conditioned walkways.
The Tram’s control center enables full control of the daily operation of the tram service. It is fitted with mega screens linked with more than 800 cameras on board the tram coaches, at stations and along the route as well as certain junctions where the tram and vehicle movements overlap. The Center monitors the movement of trains along the route and controls the service frequency. It also monitors the CCTV cameras, light signals along the tram route, besides controlling communication systems, power transformers, and power feed system to coaches and stations. It also supervises the safety systems such as fire, ventilation and air-conditioning of coaches & stations, besides ensuring the safe functioning of doors, brakes and motors of each individual train.