By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Work on the long-awaited Al Sufouh Tram project has picked up pace as the contractor has started building the viaduct for the elevated tracks along Dubai Marina on Shaikh Zayed Road.
“We are completely focused on the Al Sufouh Tram project because it will serve hundreds of thousands of people living and working in the new Dubai areas,” a senior official at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said.
The first phase of the Al Sufouh Tram is expected to open in 2012 and the project is scheduled to be fully completed in 2014.
Construction started in late 2008, but progress was somewhat slow in the beginning due to the economic downturn and the delay in completion of development projects.
Once completed, the tram will pass through Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Media City, Knowledge Village, Madinat Jumeirah, Mall of the Emirates and the Burj Al Arab.
The Dubai Metro is driverless, but the Al Sufouh trams will have drivers since they will run on normal roads in the traffic.
The project extends 14 kilometres along Al Sufouh Road, with 9.5 kilometres to be constructed in the initial stage starting from the Dubai Marina to the Mall of the Emirates Station and this is why it is also called ‘the Shopping Trolley’.
The tram network includes 19 passenger stations, nine of which will be constructed in Phase I spread over population density and activity areas along the tram path.
Each tram is 44 metres long and has a capacity of 300 passengers.
The fleet comprises eight trains in Phase I and 17 trains in Phase II for a total of 25 trains, enabling them to carry about 5,000 passengers per hour per direction. The tram will be connected to the Red Line of the Metro at Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Marina stations.
Earlier, a senior RTA official said that the RTA was going ahead with the construction of all its infrastructure development projects, although the completion period for some projects has been extended due to a slowdown in developments in certain areas.
“The RTA is proceeding with the construction of the existing infrastructure projects, particularly mass transit systems, introduction of transportation policies and legislation to promote public transport,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA.
Metro: Ridership on the rise
Dubai Metro is getting popular with every passing day as it is being used by at an average of more than 140,000 commuters per day, said a senior official.
Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Rail Operations at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said there has been a huge jump in number of passengers using the Metro over the last few months. “The ridership has increased from 110,000 per day in August this year to 140,000 since the opening of more stations,” he said.
The Metro carried around four million passengers in November this year. “It is expected that the number of metro users will increase to an average of 170,000 passengers per day by the end of this year,” he said.