The Dubai Tram is the Public Transport Pearl of the Gulf
It took years to complete, and the roads between Al Sufouh and the Dubai Marina were torn up and an aggravation, but nine months after opening, the Dubai Tram is making a difference easing congestion in the United Arab Emirates’ largest city. The first rail system outside of Europe to be electrically powered by a ground-based system, the sleek, modern trains that comprise the tram add a nice finesse to this rapidly developing and popular district within Dubai.
Reaching nine miles (14.5 kilometers) along the posh neighborhoods of coastal Dubai, the tram allows commuters to transfer to the Dubai Metro at two stations. Commuters who have to brave such a commute during summer, when the mercury reaches as high as 120F (50C) during the summer, can wait for the tram comfortably: each station is air-conditioned and shields riders from the heat. The system is safe, too: drivers have to take an automated alcohol test before their shift, and crosswalks leading out of the station areas are clearly marked.
With the Middle East targeted for rapid population growth in the coming years, choking traffic has long been a festering problem in the region’s cities. The tram was expensive to build, but so is ignoring local infrastructure. Like much of the greater Middle East, the UAE needs to improve its public transportation networks; the tram is a step in the right direction.
Image credits: Leon Kaye, Rana Mudassar Hussain