Dubai: From rowing boats to driverless trains

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By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter  www.gulfnews.com

Dubai: Just over four decades ago, when the first road in Dubai was laid, who would have imagined a million cars in Dubai? Not many would have envisaged the Metro either when a fleet of five buses was launched in 1968 as the first public bus service.

Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA The first Dubai inter-city RTA bus. The city is well connected with the other emirates.
Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA The first Dubai inter-city RTA bus. The city is well connected with the other emirates.

The same year the first motorised abras were also launched replacing rowing boats — which for the 3,000 residents of Dubai until then was the only quick way to travel between Deira and Bur Dubai.

Fast forward to 2013, and the teaming neighbourhoods of Deira and Bur Dubai have more cars than the number of people that lived in the entire country 50 years ago. There are more options to travel around the city now than the number of abras the city had back then.

Looking back as the UAE celebrates its 42nd National Day, it’s hard to imagine how much and how fast the city has progressed in just a few decades. The abras have stayed but they are complemented by water taxis, ferries and water buses. The number of buses has grown from five to 1,571 and then there is a Metro that has really put Dubai’s public transport on the fast track. More info