By Ed Attwood
Agency closes roads, adds more trains, taxis and buses in a bid to avoid repeat of last year’s gridlock
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has unveiled a series of plans that the agency hopes will avoid a repeat of the previous New Year celebrations, which saw hundreds of thousands of people left stranded by congestion in the Downtown Dubai area.
Last year, Emaar estimated that around half a million people had congregated in the Downtown area to watch a midnight fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
However, congestion at Dubai Metro stations and gridlock on the roads – particularly around Defence Roundabout – meant that thousands opted to walk home.
This year, the RTA has announced that the Metro will be running services on the Red Line every three minutes between 12am and 5.30am. In addition, extra gates have been installed at Burj Khalifa station, and the agency says it has also streamlined movement at the Financial Center and Business Bay stations.
To ease congestion in the Downtown area, the RTA has also set up a park and ride scheme, creating around 10,000 parking spaces at several sites including Meydan, Dubai World Trade Center and Zabeel Park, all of which will be served by 63 extra buses.
There will be an extra 4,000 taxis deployed during the night.
“The Boulevard Street at Burj Khalifa will be closed once the parking slots are full to avoid potential traffic congestions in the area,” said RTA chairman and executive director Mattar Al Tayer.
“RTA will also reset the programmed timing of the key light signals on the Financial Center Street to fit the traffic volumes generated during the 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 agency will be hoping that the new precautions will avoid a repeat of last year, which saw the public transport system overwhelmed by the sheer weight of traffic.
“The staff at the Metro could not handle the load and hurriedly shut down operations a couple of hours after midnight,” one visitor told Arabian Business.
“Given the limited capacity of the train itself, there were hundreds stranded outside the stations – old people in wheelchairs and babies in strollers. It was freezing and the roads were jammed with traffic. As a result, no-one got a cab lift.”
Good work RTA. These are the kind of things only experience will teach and its really trial and error. There isn't really a right solution, just try out different methods and experiment.
DUBAI RTA - TOP NOTCH BY ALL GLOBAL STANDARDS. Something that i would miss in case of a relocation to to any other city (except Singapore or Berlin or Vancouver that have similar RTAs).
I am actually impressed by RTA's measures. A lot of cities would just ignore and let it sleep on it. Glad, Dubai's RTA is atleast taking some measures to make it easy on public. Good job RTA :)
Well done Dubai and thank you . I think diffrent cities around the world should learn from Dubai how it should be done. Happy New Year 2011 Dubai
Good to see they are trying to find a solutio because the mayhem last year...
I was there last year amidst all this chaos, sooooo happy to hear about the steps RTA has made to correct this. I am appreciative, and thankful. Love you Dubai!!!
How was this Year outcome?, Could RTA mange the crowd, or fulfill their promises? I was outside UAE for the new Year