Dubai: The chaotic traffic situation witnessed during last year's New Year celebrations at Downtown Burj Khalifa will not repeat this year, officials hope, as they unveiled a traffic plan ahead of this year's festivities.
A traffic plan — including round-the-clock services by the Dubai Metro, and deployment of 63 buses and 4,000 taxis to transfer commuters to the Burj Khalifa — has been put in place to avoid congestion, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced yesterday.
Last year, an estimated 500,000 spectators had gathered around the Burj Khalifa to celebrate the New Year by watching fireworks, resulting traffic coming to a standstill in roads leading to Downtown.
The master plan for the management of traffic and public transport aims to streamline the traffic flow and ease the mobility of visitors to and from the event venue, Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA said in a statement.
The plan — developed by the RTA's External Events Organisation Team in coordination with the Dubai Police and Emaar — charts out the operations of the Dubai Metro (Burj Khalifa Station, Financial Centre Station, Business Bay Station), public buses, and taxis during the Year's celebrations around the Burj Khalifa.
On January 1, the Dubai Metro will operate every three minutes during peak hours between 12am and 5.30am, in the stations from Al Rashidiya up to Ibn Battuta. And during off-peak hours, there will be a train every four to 10 minutes, Al Tayer said.
The Metro service at the Burj Khalifa station has been enhanced by separating the entry and exit points, improving the station's operational efficiency, installing four additional gates, and modifying two gates in order to ease public mobility. Operations have also been streamlined at the Financial Centre station and Business Bay station.
"The RTA, in coordination with the Dubai World Trade Centre and Meydan, has made preparations to utilise the existing parking space in order to create about 10,000 parking slots, and provide access to the venue through express bus service."
"RTA will deploy 63 buses to shuttle from the parking lots of Meydan Racecourse, Dubai World Trade Centre, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, and Zabeel Park, through a dedicated express lane leading to the venue."
"Also, 4,000 taxicabs will be deployed to work round-the-clock. These are expected to make more than 30,000 trips to and from the Burj Khalifa," Al Tayer said.
The Boulevard Street at Burj Khalifa will be closed once the parking slots are full to avoid potential traffic congestion in the area. RTA will also reset the programmed timing of the key traffic signals on the Financial Centre Street to fit the volumes generated during peak hours, and deploy makeshift virtual messaging signs on the main roads to alert commuters about the condition of the parking space in Dubai Mall.
"The event, which is now part of a global countdown of popularly observed New Year's fireworks, is expected to showcase the city of Dubai and Downtown Dubai as one of the iconic destinations of the world," Ahmad Al Falasi, Executive Director, Property Management at Emaar said.
Shutdown of services
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced yesterday that all its customer service centres across Dubai will remain closed tomorrow as annual stock taking process is ongoing. All customer transactions will be referred to alternative centres affiliated to RTA's partners/service providers, Ahmad Mahboob, RTA Director of Customer Service, said.
The alternative centres that will receive and process customer transactions include: Tasjeel Al Qusais, Tasjeel Jebel Ali, Tasjeel Al Warsan, EPCO Hatta, Tasjeel Al Barsha, Tasjeel Awir, Shamil Al Aadid, Shamil Muhaisna, Shamil Nad Al Hamar, Al Kindi Company "Tamam", Wasel Belhasa, Wasel vehicles Inspection, and The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE. The call centre (8009090) will be functional.