November 12, 2014
A pioneering system of trams (better known as streetcars or trolleys in North America) was opened to the public in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city of Dubai. This 6.6-mile (10.6-kilometer)-long segment of the new system between Dubai Marina along the Persian Gulf shoreline and the city’s community of Al Sufouh had been ceremonially inaugurated the previous day by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.
The first tram to go into service on November 12 departed from Al Sufouh at 6:30 a.m. “Yesterday was the official launch of Dubai Tram, but today was the first day the tram was open to the public,” reported an article appearing that day on Dubai Media Incorporated’s news website Emirates 24/7. ”The moment did not go by unnoticed, as many commuters gathered to be part of that very first public ride.” The article noted that those commuters included Yemeni Muna Al Areqi, who woke up earlier than usual at 4:30 a.m. just to be among the Dubai Tram’s first passengers. “I tried to be first on Dubai Metro too, but then I missed the first train,” she explained, referring to the city’s rapid transit rail network that had been launched five years earlier. “Now I am here on time, and I will be on the first ride.”
Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of the government of Dubai, highlighted the overall objectives and expectations for the Dubai Tram. He said at the time of the system’s debut, “The tram aims to improve the mobility within Dubai in general and areas of tourist and economic importance served by the tramway in particular. It also contributes to boosting the integrated public transport systems in the emirate, providing a smooth, handy and highly efficient transit experience within communities characterized by business and tourist importance in the city of Dubai.”
The Dubai Tram became the fourth tramway in the world – preceded only by the Bourdeaux, Reims, and Anger tramways in France – to be powered by ground-based electric cables rather than overhead lines. In addition, the Dubai Tram was the first tram system to have platform screen doors put in place to separate the platforms from the vehicles as an extra safety measure for passengers. The Dubai Tram’s other innovations have included air-conditioned stations.
Additional information on the Dubai Tram is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubai_Tram.
For more information on the system’s public debut, please check out the 12 November 2014 Emirates 24/7 article “Dubai Tram’s First Passengers: Excitement, Emotion, Euphoria” at https://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/dubai-tram-s-first-passengers-excitement-emotion-euphoria-2014-11-12-1.569791.