Dubai's Al Sufouh Tram project testing to begin

The 971 Report
The brand new train of the Al Sufouh Dubai tramway. Testing for the latest phase of the project begins on Sunday.

Dubai's multi-million dollar Al Sufouh Tram project will begin testing on Sunday, the city's Road and Transport Authority (RTA) said.

The trial runs will be divided into three zones - zone 1 will operate between two kilometres from Al Sufouh Depot near Police Academy to Knowledge Village.

The next phase of the testing begins on April 16, and will cover four more stations. The final phase will start June 14 and will cover the entire 14.6 km track.

The Al Sufouh Tram will include 17 stations and is expected to cater to 27,000 passengers a day when it launches in November 2014. By 2020, officials expect 66,000 passengers to use it daily.

The network will comprise of trams created by French company Alstom. France's Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq was in Dubai on Tuesday to inspect the first batch of 11 trams delivered in December.  Fourteen more trams will be added in the second phase for a total of 25.

Each tram will have seven coaches, including a gold suite and one cabin dedicated to women and children. It will be operated by Serco, the same company that manages the Dubai Metro.

AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

RTA launched an awareness campaign last week to educate residents about the new road signs for the tram. 

Drivers will be taught about the new rules for the tram, including obstructing the tramway, priority tracks and entry points. A new code for the tram will be shared with existing drivers in the next few weeks.

"The tram is a totally different system to the Metro. The Metro has no interaction with road users, whereas with a tram, there are certain areas where the tram route intersects with the road. There will be special traffic lights and signs. People’s knowledge of the tram signs, the signalling and how it all ties together will be very critical,” Ahmed Hashem Behroozian, an RTA official was quoting as saying in The National. 

Officials will also incorporate the new signs into driving school courses and extend the awareness campaign to residents of other emirates.

Once the tram is operational, there will be fines and penalties for any violations.