UAE | General

Mysterious Dubai-Sharjah traffic jams driving commuters up the wall

Motorists at a loss to explain why traffic has swelled abruptly in Dubai and Sharjah

  • By Shafaat Shabandari and Faisal Masudi, Gulf News
  • Published: 00:00 October 14, 2012
  • Gulf News

A traffic jam in Sharjah
  • Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
  • This file photo shows motorists stuck in a traffic jam in Sharjah.
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Dubai/Sharjah: Commuters have been left baffled by an unexplained spike in traffic that has thrown travel schedules into chaos in recent weeks for those making the daily journey to work in Dubai and Sharjah.

Drivers report the morning and evening rush hour lasts for hours, with heavy traffic now experienced even outside of traditional peak times.

Weekends have also been clogged with snarls, they added.

Even non-prime roads, previously free-flowing, have turned sluggish, motorists say as residents are urged to take advantage of public transport and park-and-ride options.

The rapid rise in traffic, which some attribute to improvements in the economy, job market and expansion of leisure markets, has seen residents arriving late to work and also returning home late.

The Dubai-Sharjah grind, never a breeze, has become especially problematic, motorists report.

“It’s gotten really horrible and no-one knows why,” said Indian commuter Junaid Sayed, 30.

“Dubai-bound traffic near ‘National Paints’ on Sharjah Ring Road is at a standstill at 5.30am. On the way back, Emirates Road is blocked as early as 3.30pm, instead of 5pm. This was unheard of before — what’s going on?”

Similar reports have emerged regarding the main Dubai-Sharjah link via Al Ittihad Road.

A number of motorists using that route say journeys are taking about 30-45 minutes longer.

There is traffic even at 11pm on weekdays on that road, Sayed said. Industrial areas in Sharjah and Ghusais are also teeming with cars.

A Pakistani taxi driver in Dubai said the once quiet neighbourhoods of Barsha and Dubai Marina are witnessing bumper-to-bumper traffic.

“I’m not sure why this is happening; maybe it’s because of more tourists coming in for the cooler weather,” said Omar Hayat, 26.

“We taxi drivers are also picking up more job seekers and businessmen, there seems to be an improvement in the economy.

“That alone doesn’t explain it though, nobody really understands why traffic’s so bad now.”

A refreshments company manager said sales were up in Dubai, meaning more delivery vehicles on the roads. He added that his colleagues from Sharjah were returning to Dubai after work and during weekends for shopping and dining out.

“People are now constantly going between Dubai and Sharjah, for work or pleasure. It’s no longer a weekend thing now. That could be one reason. I don’t know what the other theories are, it’s a mystery,” he said.

Tailbacks are forcing commuters to adjust work and social lives to allow for more time spent behind the wheel.

And they fear a return to the traffic woes of 2008, when gridlocks meant waking up before dawn to beat the morning dash.

Some motorists then slept in their cars in the office parking lot until doors opened for business.

More than 1.3 million vehicles use Dubai roads everyday, hundreds of thousands of them from neighbouring Sharjah.

That means there is about one car for every two Dubai residents.

The Dubai government is pumping billions in developing its infrastructure to meet demand.

However, some areas continue to suffer from bottlenecks.

The typical problem is that lanes merge on the approach to Dubai and Sharjah. Lane indiscipline at interchanges and exits also slows down traffic, with drivers trying to cut in line.

Residents have been urged to use public transport.

The Roads and Transport Authority told Gulf News in a statement: “The RTA, as part of the Metro Green and Red Lines works, has invested heavily in an efficient public transport system including the park-and-ride facilities at Rashidiya and Etisalat stations.

“This is mainly for traffic coming from the north, including Sharjah traffic, to park the cars for free and get on the reliable metro lines. The ridership and the parking occupancy numbers have been increasing with an increase in public transport share.

“The Emirates Road widening project is currently under construction, which is expected to increase the road capacity for Sharjah traffic.”

Comments (53)

  1. Added 19:12 October 14, 2012

    If the rent of accommodation in Dubai could be lowered and the contracts system cancelled all people could afford accommodation near to their workplace. I am driving my car daily, I would prefer to walk to my office or use public transport, but I have to rent accommodation in the suburb and use my car.

    Anafii, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 18:57 October 14, 2012

    It is not just the amount of cars, or where they are living. I believe it is the discipline of driving. Peple are staying most of the time on the 2nd and 3rd lane while the far right lane is empty. Speeding vehicle are using the left lane or the emergency lane. Instead of implementing international law of driving, stay right drive right overturn left with indicator and certainly use your eye sight...... Always interesting inside a roundabout, people going into the roundabout from the far right straight into the far left lane than going out on the far right lane. All others have to make emergency brakes otherwise accidants happen..... And it continues and continues...

    Anonymous, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 18:44 October 14, 2012

    Maximise the usage of public transport, make a good system for carlift, encourage the carlift system. The govt should make some rules to companies to provide transportation for their staff, use buses to transport company staff, provide car for only works outside like sales, PRO.

    Anonymous, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 18:38 October 14, 2012

    Both local authorities should sit and solve this problem. Why they do not start metro between two cities? People won't buy cars for transportation if they get alternative way to travel.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 18:18 October 14, 2012

    Sitting on my computer while my fingers are tapping away, I am wondering why there are traffic jams, let it be Dubai, Sharjah or Ajman...Dont register or renew any cars which falls under the 10 Years age category, for example its 2012 so cars which are 2002 and above should be registered by RTA, in that case the Rush or so-called traffic jams will be drastically reduced, implement the rule and see the situation for the next one year...the results will be fruitful, jump on Emirates Road and you see the old bangers all around, after carefull analysis thats the only solution I have reached!

    Sohail Aryan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 18:15 October 14, 2012

    Aside from bottlenecks on roads to Sharjah, Ajman etc...most important bottlenecks inside Dubai are because multi lane roads are turned by RTA, into single lane roads..at most bottlenecks. 1. In JLT roundabout in Dubai 2. Wafi turnabout used to go to Bur Dubai/Zabeel etc or to go towards Intl City 3. Mirdif City Centre Road going to Sharjah, Ajman. Other roads such as Al Khail Road in some points where construction is going on should have some traffic police so depending on volume of traffic they can allow more traffic to flow in certain directions in peak hours 4. Traffic near Dubai Mall whether outside Burj Khalifa or upper double decker road going into Bloomingdales in the BIGGEST MALL in the WORLD is really a joke and a shame with single lanes and intersections all around. Intersections are necessary to control traffic but do we really need single lanes near the biggest mall in the world? If we remove single lanes, Dubai traffic will start moving smoothly all around.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 17:42 October 14, 2012

    there is always a simple solution for the transport authorities to think about for such perennial situations. Dh20 toll gates on all 3 entry points! bingo, problem solved!

    Ian, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 17:31 October 14, 2012

    Well i think there are three causes for the traffic jams: rents are getting too expensive in the other emirates Sharjah is the cheapest place to stay,so many people working in Abu Dhabi and Dubai live in Sharjah; there are not enough routes, just emirates road and Dubai; and road users switch lanes every 5 seconds from left to right and vice versa

    Habeeb, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 17:29 October 14, 2012

    From Sharjah Al Nahada, the route which is only for Bus and taxis should be kept open for all. At Al Mulla signal above the under pass - 2 lanes should be given for motorist passing towards right.

    Juzar Kolhapurwala, Dubai, India

  10. Added 16:41 October 14, 2012

    This is not only in Dubai-Sharjah road. The schools in Gardens are also creating traffic jams all of a sudden. This didnt happen for past 10 years.

    divya govindraj, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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