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Dubai Tram: No mobiles, headphones nearby

By Majorie van Leijen

Do not use headphones or mobile phones in the area where Dubai Tram could pass.

This was one of the messages sent out by the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) during the ongoing Gulf Traffic week, when several authorities are organising safety related events.

At first, the warning message may sound a bit surprising. After all, we are used to listening to whatever we like to when roaming or driving in a public area.

However, it is all for the benefit of road users’ safety, said RTA.

"Did you know that Dubai Tram cares about your safety on the road?" tweeted the authority on Monday.

Accordingly, the tram instructor will be able to release instructions not only to tram passengers, but also to surrounding road users, if needed. Through a microphone, it may give instructions to other road users and, more importantly, these instructions are binding.

"Instructions from tram officials must be followed," read the RTA flyer regarding this subject.

"Don’t use headphones and mobile phones near tram tracks."

Although it is not clear which instructions would follow from tram officials, these are likely to be in line with the traffic rules that were formed when the testing phase of Dubai Tram commenced.

In January this year Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, issued Resolution No (1) of 2014 regulating the tramway system in Dubai.

For example, crossing a red traffic signal at the intersection area with the tramway causing an accident that leads to the death of a person is punishable with a fine between Dh10,000 and Dh30,000, in addition to revoking the driver's licence for a period of up to one year.

When crossing a red traffic light at the tramway intersection and causes an accident leading to injuries the offender can be fined between Dh5,000 and Dh15,000, while crossing a red traffic light at the tramway intersection area without causing an accident is punishable with a fine between Dh2,000 and Dh5,000.

Where the routes of the tram and other vehicles intersect, the tram will have priority, announced Dubai Police earlier. However, in emergencies, police, ambulance and civil defence vehicles will get priority.

As Dubai tram is already on the road during the test phase, traffic rules are already in place. However, the tram movement is guarded by Dubai Police forces, as the public is not yet familiar with the newcomer on the road.

Currently the tram is on trial on the track running from Al Sufouh to Dubai Knowledge Village, an area which is referred to as zone 1. On April 16 the test runs will be extended to zone 2, which spans from Dubai Knowledge Village to Dubai Marina. On June 14 the test phase will finally be extended to Jumeriah Lakes Towers, Jumeirah Beach Residence and Dubai Marina Mall.

The first operation tram ride is expected to be launched on November 10, 2014.