Ready to roll: The first phase of testing last Sunday went off successfully. The project will become operational in November with 11 trams and an equally number of stations Image Credit: XPRESS/Virendra Saklani

Dubai: Residents living around communities to be covered by the 10.6 km tram line say they will use it mostly on weekends. The tram will begin operations in November 14. Testing for the first phase began last Sunday.

Tom Watterson, a British expatriate living in Shams building, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), said he will use the tram on weekends when he visits friends on the other side of JBR or if he’s visiting Marina Mall. “It is not practical for me to take the tram everyday to work as my office is in Tecom. But on weekends, I usually visit friends at the other end of JBR. Right now I take my car to go to Dubai Marina Mall, but when the tram becomes operational I will avoid taking my car. The tram will be a real boon,” he said.

Watterson’s sentiments were echoed by Jacqui McCumiskey, 45, a fellow British expat living in Al Sufouh area behind Wellington School near Dubai Media City. “Almost every other weekend I am in JBR with friends. I can’t wait to use the tram,” she said.

Rania Majzoub, Lebanese, 37, lives in Al Seef Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Tower (JLT). She takes her children everyday to Marina Mall. “From JLT it’s the most convenient place to take my kids and keep them busy. Usually, I take the Dubai Marina Metro station bridge to cross over to the other side. From there, I walk to Dubai Marina Mall which is a fair distance, especially when there are two children to take along in a pram. When the tram is ready, it will be of great help to me,” she said.

For Sandhya, a housemaid living and working in Emirates Living, the tram will save her a lot of walking. “I meet up with a friend in 23 Marina every Thursday. The nearest Metro station for Emirates Living residents is Nakheel which is really far. I take a public bus that comes every half an hour to go to Nakheel, take the Metro, get off at Dubai Marina and from there walk down to 23 Marina. The tram will save me a lot of time,” she said. One person who intends to use the tram on a regular basis is Farinoosh Younus. She currently lives in Dream Tower next to JLT station and works in Golden Mile, Palm Jumeirah. “For me, the tram is a practical way to work. I will hop in at JLT tram stop and get off at Palm Monorail. The Palm Monorail will then take me to my office. I can practically forget my car as even on weekends we usually end up at JBR and Dubai Marina,” she said.

Yousif Al Ali, CEO, Rail, Road and Transport Authority said: “The Dubai Tram is intended to complement the Metro Red Line and is expected to transform the lifestyle of people within catchment areas. It will improve accessibility and mobility within communities, which the tram covers.”

Four air-conditioned foot bridges are being constructed for tram users. Two bridges will be constructed over Al Sufouh Street while two others will link Tecom zone with the locality on the opposite side of the street and the Dubai Marina Mall.

Tram testing

Testing will be done in three phases until the service becomes open for public in November. The first phase will have 11 trams and 11 stops – two each in JBR and Dubai Marina, three in Dubai Internet City (DIC), two in Knowledge Village and two connected to the Dubai Metro Red Line. 
The trams will have will have gold, silver and women’s classes. It will run at a maximum speed of 50 km/h. A trip from Dubai Marina to Al Sufouh will take 42 minutes. NOL cards can be used to pay fares. and will operate at six-minute intervals.