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Transportation in Dubai

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Title: Transportation in Dubai  
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Subject: Dubai Metro, Dubai, Developments in Dubai, List of development projects in Dubai, Seawings
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Transportation in Dubai

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) regulates transportation within the city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Its mission is to reduce the traffic. Initially started as Dubai transport in 1998, the government of Dubai revamped the system to unify its services under the brand name "RTA" in 2006, in order to accommodate the metro and other facilities under one name.


  • Roads 1
  • Metro 2
  • Bus 3
  • Trams 4
  • Ports and water travel 5
  • Air travel 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


A Dubai interchange
The interchange between E 311 and E 66

Dubai has a very large bus system run by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The bus system has 193 routes on weekdays and transports over 30 million people weekly. The Public Transport bus system is large and advanced but not large enough to accommodate the volume of people who use it. This means that in busy areas, it is common that at the end of the day commuters may have to wait more than an hour before they can board a bus. Unfortunately, the number of buses does not increase with the same rate as the amount of passengers, which makes this problem worse as time progresses.

The (RTA) has announced that Dubai roads will see 1616 new buses; a world record bus purchase. The buses will be of various sizes & models manufactured at the highest security & safety standards. The buses are equipped with the latest technologies such as voice announcement of the next stop, passengers counting system, bus-positioning system linked with the RTA Control Center, and internal & external display monitors. The new fleet is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2008.[1]

Dubai also has an extensive taxi system, by far the most frequently used means of public transport within the Emirate. There are both government-operated and private cab companies. The Dubai Transport Corporation operates cream-coloured taxis. Some of the private cab companies are Cars Taxi, National Taxi, Cititaxi and Metro Taxi. The meter generally begins as Dhs. 6.00 and is generally charged by distance at 1.5 Dhs./km. There are approximately 7500 taxis located in the city.

Because of the growing population, commuters in Dubai experience a high amount of traffic congestion. The city has become the most congested city in the Middle East. Professionals working in Dubai spend an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes commuting to and from work. The government has invested heavily in the Dubai's road infrastructure, although this has not kept pace with the increase in the number of vehicles. This, coupled with the induced traffic phenomenon, has led to growing problems of congestion.[2] However, as of May 2009, with thousands of expatriate workers having lost their jobs and left back to their countries following the economic crisis, traffic congestion has eased significantly.

Traffic congestion, the single biggest concern among Dubai's 1.44 million residents, inflicts losses of Dh4.6 billion or 3.15% of the emirate's Dh146 billion GDP a year. The city has a car ownership rate of 541 cars per 1,000 population. This figure exceeds that of cities like New York City [444 cars per 1,000 population], London [345 cars per 1,000 population] and Singapore [111 cars per 1,000 population]. If this trend continues, then by 2020, there will be 5.3 million registered cars in Dubai.[3]

According to some traffic experts, Dubai is suffering from an originally flawed road system, with in-built bottlenecks on certain key routes such as the Dubai-Sharjah road. Over time, however, the new infrastructure including the Dubai Metro, the new bridges and complex of flyovers is expected to ease congestion to some extent.[2]

A further 500 km of roads plus 120 multi-level interchanges will also be built before 2020 at a cost of around 44 billion dirhams ($12 billion) as transport chiefs in the emirate aim to improve life for motorists.[4]


Route Map of Dubai Metro

The Dubai Metro currently operates two lines. The construction contract for the project was given to Dubai Rapid Link (DURL),[5] a consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, in 2005. The construction of the red line began in September 2005 and the red line started operating in 9 Sept 2009, with its extension opened in 2010 and 2013. There are currently 29 stations on the red line. The construction of green line started in 2006 and the green line opened in 9 Sep 2011. There were initially 18 stations and two more stations were added in 2014. The Green Line runs from Rashidiya to the main city center and the Red Line from the airport to Jebel Ali.

Three new lines and extension of the two existing lines are planned but currently no concrete construction plan has been confirmed.

Currently the total length of the metro system is 74.6 km, within which 13 km is built underground.

Seven monorails are also slated to be constructed to help feed the Dubai Metro, connecting various places such as Dubailand, the Palm Jumeirah and other districts the main track. The first of these, the Palm Jumeirah Monorail, opened in 30 April 2009. Two stations are in operation, while two more stations are expected to be added in the future.


Under brandname DubaiBus an extensive bus system is operated. Some buslines are feeders for the metro system. 656 of 1500 bus stops are equipped with airconditioned shelters. The bus fleet consists almost entirely of low floor European-made, air-conditioned buses by Neoplan, Mercedes-Benz, Solaris and VDL. Although the city of Dubai is growing year by year, the number of passengers is hardly rising. It is possible that this is a result of constant metro extensions.

2010 2011 2012 2013
Lines 97 99
Trips 3,230,190
Passengers 110,399,157 107,407,948 107,806,085 115,670,587


As of April 2008, there were two expected tram systems to be built in Dubai by 2011. The first is the Downtown Burj Dubai Tram System, and the second is the Dubai Tram.

The Downtown Burj Dubai Tram System is a 4.6 km (2.9 mi) tram service that is planned to serve the area around the Burj Khalifa.[6] Announced in April 2008 by Emaar, the Dh500 million system will have two separate lines. The first line, which is expected to open by the end of 2009, will run 1.1 kilometres (0.68 mi) from Dubai Metro's Burj Khalifa station to the Dubai Mall with one stop at The Address Dubai Mall. While this line will have trams running in both directions, the second line will only run in one direction. The second phase, expected to open in 2010, will serve ten stations. The 4.6 km loop will travel clockwise and will have a total travel time of eight minutes.[7]

In the same month, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority announced the Dubai Tram(previously known as Al Sufouh Tramway). This tram service would run 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi) along Al Sufouh Road from Dubai Marina to the Burj Al Arab and the Mall of the Emirates. It is expected to connect with two stations of Dubai Metro's Red Line. Phase 1, expected to open in April 2011, will have 11 trains with 13 stations running 10 km (6.2 mi). Once Phase 2 is complete, the tram will add 14 more trains and six stations on the additional 4 km (2.5 mi). The planning and construction of the Dubai Tram will be undertaken by a consortium of Alstom, Besix and Parsons.[8][9][10][11]

The trams for the network will be 44 m (144 ft) long, have a capacity of 300 passengers and will travel at a maximum speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) and an average commercial speed of 20 km/h (12 mph). Running for 20 h each day, it will take only 30 min to ride the entire length of the system The Dubai Tram will use Alstom's Citadis 402. To provide safety, comfort and aesthetics, the Dubai Tram will incorporate methods not found in many trams around the world. These trams will use ground-level power supply; in other words, the trams will not need overhead cables. This recently invented method, also referred to as Alimentation par Sol or "Aesthetic Power Supply" (APS), is currently used in Bordeaux, France. The Dubai Tram will also be the world’s first tram network to use platform screen doors at the stations, as well as a new Supervised Vehicle Operation (SVO) mode that will ensure accurate station stop and safety during passenger transfer.[8][9][10][11]

In June 2010, the consortium led by France's Alstom and the local/Belgian Belhasa Six Construct stopped work on the estimated $1.1bn Al-Sufouh tram project in Dubai because of irregular payments from the project client, Dubai's Roads & Transport Authority (RTA). The original completion date of April 2011 has also been extended.[12] (As of Feb 2013, phase 1 of the Sofouh Tramway is still under construction.)

Ports and water travel

Abras at Bur Dubai

Dubai is served by two large commercial ports, Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali. Dubai Creek and Port Saeed are used by local traders in dhows.

One of the more traditional means of getting across Dubai Creek between Bur Dubai and Deira is on abras, small boats that ferry passengers across the Creek between stations in Bastakiya and Bani Yas Road, for a nominal charge of 1 UAE dirhams. They can be rented, along with an operator, for 100 UAE dirhams, approximately US$27.

The Marine Transport Agency, part of the Road and Transportation Agency, started the Dubai Water Bus System on Dubai Creek in July 2007.

Air travel

Dubai International Airport is a hub for Emirates and FlyDubai and has a large duty-free shopping centre. The airport has won numerous awards for its excellence in design and services.[13] A third terminal, which fully supports the new Airbus A380, was opened in October 2008 and doubled the airport's capacity. A new concourse catering to the A380 was completed in late 2012.

Al Maktoum International Airport, currently under construction, will make a new free trade area within Dubai and be the centerpiece of the Dubai World Central aerotropolis. The airport was announced in 2004 and construction began in January 2005. The first part was expected to be completed by 2008. Although initially intended as a predominantly cargo airport, plans are afoot for it to handle some 120 million passengers per annum within 20 years, which would likely surpass Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as the world's busiest airport.[14]

Dubai is investing heavily in developing the reach of its airline Emirates. The hope is to develop Dubai's air transportation industry to the point that passengers from any city can fly direct to Dubai. When Emirates Airline receives the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft—part of its November 2005 order for forty-two 777s—it will be able to offer direct flights to nearly any major city in the world. The airline has also placed an order for 45 of Airbus's A380 superjumbo double decker aircraft, the largest of which has a capacity of 641 passengers. The A380 aircraft have been flying since August 2008.

In addition Etihad Airways provides bus coaches between Dubai and Abu Dhabi International Airport for Etihad customers.[15] Air Arabia provides a similar service for its passengers to Sharjah International Airport, which due to its proximity is used as an alternative airport by Dubai residents.

See also


  1. ^ "Dubai News Online" article
  2. ^ a b Dubai Overtakes Cairo in Traffic Congestion -
  3. ^ Gulfnews: Dubai traffic woes inflict losses of Dh4.6b a year
  4. ^ "Bus lanes, cycle zones part of $12bn traffic master plan". 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  5. ^ Dubai Municipality signs Dhs12.45 billion Metro contract, Dubai Metro, May 29, 2005
  6. ^ "Burj Dubai tram plan unveiled".  
  7. ^ "Emaar unveils advanced public tram system for Downtown Burj Dubai".  
  8. ^ a b "Smooth ride for Jumeirah residents".  
  9. ^ a b "Tram will be ride on time". 7Days. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  10. ^ a b "H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid approves the design of the AED 4b Al Safooh Tram project". Dubai & Roads and Transport Authority. 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  11. ^ a b "Al Safouh tram project consortium selected".  
  12. ^ "Consortium stops work on Al-Sufouh tram".  
  13. ^ Skytrax - Best Airports Middle East
  14. ^ Jebel Ali Airport Jebel Ali Airport
  15. ^ Dubai." Etihad Airways. Retrieved on 6 February 2009.

External links

  • Car Rental at Dubai International Airport
  • Arabian Business Dubai lifestyle: "Dubai taxis third best in world, says study"
  • MEED - Middle East Business intelligence since 1957: "Middle East business news and analysis, tenders, contracts awarded, commentary, economic data, insight, projects and events" - magazine website
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