The Dubai Tram was planned to be completed during 2010/2011 and its target was to ease the vehicle circulation in Marina, a neighborhood characterized by frequent traffic jams. Unfortunately, the property market’s bubble first and then the world financial crisis, have forced the ruler of Dubai to postpone the completion of the ambitious project and have it delivered few years later.
Dubai Tram Logo
The idea behind the realization of the Tram was very simple: give to people a different option to move in Marina and adjacent neighborhood using the tram instead of the car, easing the traffic and the persistent parking problems.
JLT Tram Station – Super Clean
After several postponements, the consortium of companies working on the Tram Project, eventually managed to inaugurate Phase 1 on November 2014. It was a celebration, for many reasons. The residents hoped to have a better traffic situation since the road works were completed and the number of cars circulating were supposed to decrease significantly. RTA finally launched a project that was since long awaited and that costed around 3.2 billion AED (800 million USD) for just 11 km of railways and 11 stations forming the Phase 1.
The Project was indeed divided in two separate phases: Phase 1 to link Jumeirah Lake Tower and Dubai Marina Metro Station to Palm Monorail passing by Al Sofouh and Phase 2 to link Phase 1 to Mall of Emirates. The construction operations weren’t easy because the Tram passes in a very densely populated area and crossed bridges, crossroads and sidewalks, hence requesting a very extensive activity.
The reactions to the opening of the tram were wide and very different. Someone named the Dubai Tram the biggest technological achievement of the last decades, someone else was really disappointed about it instead.
I used the Tram and drove in Marina many times after the inauguration held on November 2014. What I experienced is a blend of emotions.
I firstly used the Tram to reach a restaurant in Westin Hotel in Al Sofouh. Instead of calling a taxi I used the Tram to give it a try. It is very cheap (3 AED instead of the 20 I would have paid the taxi driver for the ride) and convenient, since the stations are close to my building and the restaurant. The only thing is that it is really slow. In certain moment we were speeding less than 20 km/h and the average speed was calculated to be around 40 km/h. Not really fast enough if you want to use it to commute daily.
Inside Dubai Tram – The cars are perfectly clean
That night, it took me 15 minutes to cover 3 km and 25 minutes to come back from the restaurant. Yes, on the way back the Tram follows another path that add three stations to the journey. It is quite strange and complicated to understand at first, since to go from JLT Metro station to Marina Mall is one station but the vice versa takes you through 4 because of the one way Marina Loop.
Dubai Tram Map – It is easy to see the one way loop in Marina
The Tram is currently used by a crescent number of people but I think that the slow speed is limiting the effective use of it to daily commute to work.
I have asked once to an RTA inspector, why the tram is so slow. And he replied that we are still in the learning curve, hence drivers, passengers and inhabitants have to get used to the tram presence. Once the preliminary phase will be completed, the speed will be raised and the service will become more efficient and convenient for commuters.
In any case, there is surely a very positive effect of the presence of the Tram. Each and every person using the Tram is equivalent to a car less on the roads with benefits for our environment, the traffic and the accidents rate.