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Tried & Tested: First review of the Dubai Tram

After its big fanfare launch last night, and subsequent traffic chaos, Dubai Tram opened to the public this morning.
The first thing you notice about the latest addition to the public transport network is how slow it is – or at least how much slower it is when compared to the Dubai Metro.
My daily journey from JLT to Media City is via the metro, getting off at Nakheel station, followed by a ten minute walk to the office. In total, it takes just under 30 minutes, depending on when the train arrives.
With a ten-minute gap in between tram train times during peak hours, the waiting was potentially longer.
When it arrived at JLT station just after 7.30am, the tram had just three passengers, and so there’s an increased comfort factor straight away. No problem getting a seat.
As the train inched its way along the Sheikh Zayed Road, via the newly created Dubai Marina Mall station (complete with a new footbridge), it was immediately clear how much longer it was going to take to complete the journey.
The added waiting time at traffic lights was also noticeable– just past the station at Marina Towers and again at Mina Al Seyahi, where the tram lines interact with Al Sufouh Road and traffic coming from Media City.
Unfortunately, in what I hope is just early teething problems, the tram I travelled on suffered a technical fault, which meant an extra ten minute wait at Mina Al Seyahi station and a further five minutes at Palm Jumeirah station, where I exited.
In all, the journey took 50 minutes, including the walk to and from the stations at either end. Taking the delays out of the journey time, it’s probably an extra ten minutes on the commute in the morning.
An added bonus is that the tram does come with free Wi-Fi. Logging on isn’t too difficult and the internet speeds aren’t too bad.
Overall, the delays aside, the tram seems to be a more relaxing journey. It probably won’t prove as popular as the metro, simply because it doesn’t connect too many workplaces for commuters.
Tourists will probably find it useful, if you’re travelling from JBR/Marina to the Palm. The next phase of the project will see the tram link with the metro station at the Mall of Emirates, which again will cater for the tourists looking to travel between some of the city’s landmarks.

November 12 2014 11:17
NEIL HALLIGAN
Arabian Business