UAE’s love-hate relationship with public transport
A future UAE seems to include a fully connected, highly populated public transport system. But how many of us have really bought into the idea of a public transport in this country of opulence.
October 31, 2011 4:59 by Precious de Leon
Imagine going to work not having to think about finding the perfect parking spot and worrying about parking or speeding fines or any kind of traffic fees. Better yet, imagine not having to think about your car loan(s) or taking time out of your day to bring your aging car to the garage for maintenance or for its increasingly persistent problems.
Now how do you feel? Not happy enough to give up owning or renting a car, eh? Thanks. You’ve just helped solidify my theory that public transport won’t reach the ideal level that it can in the Dubai…at least not yet. I could only suppose at this time your palms are also getting sweaty at the thought of not being able to show off, erm, I mean reflect your ‘outgoing’ personality with a flash car. Oh poor you.
But if you did actually feel happy or at least relieved to be rid that extra stress then good for you. And you know how you can get that small amount of piece of mind and that’s to regularly use public transport.
For those of us who’ve been in Dubai during the pre-Dubai Metro times, remember how it was almost impossible to fathom not having a car. Dubai has never been famous as a walkable city–what with its roads constantly under construction and re-construction and the impossibly hot weather and lack of shading areas.
But fast forward to the present time and here we are with a metro that’s almost fully functional (apart from a couple of stops) and bus systems that are less than perfect but continually improving. And today, Dubai’s plans for the 3.2 billion Al Sufouh tram project has been unveiled for the first time. More details about the trams capacity here.
Funding issues for the tram meant its launch date has been pushed back to 2014, from its original opening date of April 2011. Barring that, it seems the emirate is showing signs that it will eventually go full steam ahead with the project. When this happens, it’ll be hard for residents and employers who live and work within the ‘new’ Dubai area (around JLT, Dubai Marina, Barsha and Jumeirah) to justify bringing their gas guzzlers to work.
The 13-stop route will run from Dubai Marina through Media City and up to Knowledge Village. A trip from end to end is expected to take around 30 minutes. A second phase is planned with 4km of track going to the Burj Al Arab Hotel and the Mall of the Emirates.
Only good things can come out of a better overall public transport system and this move is commendable. Kipp’s hoping though that the tram stations will extend to ‘old’ Dubai as well as to its borders, where it gets the most traffic congestions.
After all, how would an exclusively ‘new’ Dubai area public transport system really help with the congestion experienced by commuters to and from Dubai-Sharjah and Dubai-Abu Dhabi? Of course, understandably these projects will come in trickles considering the city is on a tight budget but just saying…that for AED2.3 billion I’d use this system for the more congested areas like Deira or even the borders. And then just set up more smaller and more frequent feeder buses spread across a wider area in the ‘new’ Dubai communities.
It’ll just be a shame to see the tram turn into an only slightly more popular version of the Palm Jumeirah Monorail. With a 25AED ticket, those monorail cabins look awfully empty.
So if you had a choice would you use the Tram and metro instead of your car? Do you ever see a Dubai in the future with hardly any cars on the road?