New Year Eve master plan: How to get in... out and about in Dubai

With New Year’s eve and a three-day weekend around the cornerthe Roads and Transport Authority(RTA) has announced its public transportation master plan, involving metro, tram, bus, marine transportation services and taxis, in addition to parking options available in most crowded areas.

RTA is expecting 820,000 riders on New Year’s eve - the most crowded day on the emirate’s public transportation system - and an additional 490,000 riders the next day, according to Maitha bin Adai, CEO of Traffic and Roads Agency at RTA.

Earlier, RTA said a million riders are expected on Dubai Metro during the entire event. Last year, 748,377 riders were recorded using the Metro, of whom 60,815 riders were lifted from Burj Khalifa – Dubai Mall station.

In addition, 618,473 commuters used taxis during that day, while 367,368 taxi passengers were recorded in the evening alone, of whom 16,225 riders were picked up from Burj Khalifa –Dubai Mall Station.

Nevertheless, advice to commuters on New Year’s eve is to make use of public transportation as roads will be equally crowded and parking spaces limited, especially in the Downtown area.

“A team has been formed to manage events comprising a bunch of highly experienced personnel in events held in Dubai; who are capable of coordinating with entities concerned with the running of events, and stand ready to take up required measures and precautions,” said Adel Shakri, Director of Public Transport Systems and Head of Events Management Team at RTA.

Travelling by Metro

Dubai Metro will run its services round-the-clock on New Year’s eve. While the Red Line will offer continuous services starting from 5.30am on Wednesday December 31, until 1am on Friday, January 2; the Green Line will offer the same service from 5.50am on Wednesday December 31 up until 12am (midnight) on Friday, January 2.

However, Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station will be closed from 10pm on Wednesday, December 31, until 6am on Thursday, January 1, 2015.

“This has been done to carry out better crowd management in the area,” said Hussein al Banna, the official spokesperson for the New Year’s eve master plan of RTA.

“Commuters can get off at Business Bay station or Financial Center station, from where they can walk to the Downtown area or take a bus free-of-charge, as a dedicated bus fleet will be available at both stations.

“At all other stations there will be an increased metro frequency from 5pm on Wednesday, December 31, up to 5am on Thursday, January 1. During this period Metro will run every 2.5 minutes to serve passengers,” he added.

In addition, commuters boarding or getting off at Business Bay or Financial Center stations will not be required to check in or out, Al Banna explained.

As in previous years, passengers will be able to pass the Metro gate without using their Nol cards. The fare is deducted based on the trip made from one of the two stations, which both fall in the same zone.

Nevertheless, commuters should expect long queues to get in and out the Metro station and crowded Metro trips, especially after the event.

For those planning to cross Sheikh Zayed Road on foot by using the Metro bridge in the area the same should be taken into account, as the queuing is likely to start outside the Metro station. The pedestrian bridge at Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station will be closed at 12am (midnight),” said bin Adai.

On Saturday, Metro services will operate as usual. For the Red Line this means from 5.30am to 12am (midnight), while the Green Line starts operations at 5.50am and continues to 12am (midnight).

Travelling by Tram

The newest addition to the public transportation network, Dubai Tram will operate round-the-clock on New Year’s eve, serving passengers in the popular Jumeirah Beach Road (JBR) and Dubai Marina areas as well as areas such as Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Al Sufouh.

Continuous services on Dubai Tram will start from 6.30am on Wednesday 31st December up to 1.30am on Friday January 2nd. The headway of the Tram will be reduced to about 8 minutes, pointed Al Banna out.

On Saturday, Tram services will be as usual, starting at 6.30am and continuing till 1.30am.

Travelling by Bus

The Downtown area will be accessible by bus with additional buses deployed on New Year’s eve. After the event, commuters will be able to board several buses at different locations in the Downtown area and at the surrounding Metro stations.

“We will rely on buses as a prime transit means upon the completion of the New Year’s celebrations at Burj Khalifa-Dubai Mall where 130 buses will be deployed, including 100 articulated buses and 30 standard buses,” said Shakri.

In the Downtown area, dedicated bus and taxi lanes have been formed with stops at places such as Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Business Bay, Al Saada Road, and Al Asayel Road, in addition to the Metro stations Business Bay, Burj Khalifa –Dubai Mall and Financial Center (see map).

“These buses provide free shuttle services and allow people to get in and out of the area to connect to Dubai Metro. The 130 buses will be on the move continuously until the area is cleared,” said Al Banna.

Free bus rides will also be provided from Burj Khalifa –Dubai Mall station to Dubai World Trade Center, Jafiliya parking area and the parking yard of Al Wasl Sports Club, where additional parking spaces are available free of charge on the occasion of New Year’s eve (see map).

Although buses will not move between the area and other locations in the emirate, the existing bus routes will be available as usual during the day on Wednesday December 31.

On Thursday, January 1, the operating times of Dubai Bus are as follows:

-      Public Buses and Main Stations (such as Gold Souk, Al Ghubaiba):  from 5am to 12am (midnight);

-      In subsidiary stations (such as Al Qusais, Al Quoz Industrial, Satwa, and Jebel Ali): from 5am to 12am (midnight), except for Route C01; which will be operating around-the-clock?

-      Jebel Ali Bus Station: from 5.40am to 9.47pm;

-      Metro station feeder bus service (at Abu Hail, Al Rashidiya, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta, Burj Khalifa and Etisalat): from 5.15am to 1.10am (the following day), with the timing of the feeder service matching the timing of the metro service. This service will be the same up to Saturday Jan 3rd.

Intercity buses on Thursday January 1 will run as follows:

-      Main Stations in Dubai (such as Ghubaiba): round-the clock

-      Subsidiary stations in Dubai (such as Sabkha, Union Square): from 5.30am to 12am (midnight)

-      Karama and Deira City Center stations: from 06.10am to 10.15pm

-      Abu Dhabi station: from 5am to 12.40am (the following day)

-      Fujairah station: from 5.55am to 9.30pm

-      Ajman station: from 6am to 10pm

-      Hatta station: from 5.30am to 9.30pm.

Travelling by taxi

All taxis in Dubai will be operative on New Year’s eve round-the-clock. This amounts to a fleet of 8,997 taxis, said Shakri.

“Coordination is in hand with franchise taxi operators (Dubai Taxi, Cars Taxi, Arabia Taxi, National Taxi and Metro Taxi) to ensure the full deployment of the fleet, which currently comprises 8997 vehicles.

“However, no taxis will be deployed in the Burj Khalifa – Dubai Mall area for the security and safety of the public and to ease vehicular congestion in the area, he added.

Instead, a couple of taxi points have been established in the Downtown area; one on Al Saada Road in Business Bay and another one on Burj Khalifa Boulevard, near Dubai Mall (see map).

Further, taxi points have been established at Dubai World Trade Center and the Jafiliya parking area to facilitate those who have come by car (see map).

Travelling over water

Although dedicated marine trips can be arranged to view the fireworks on New Year’s eve , regular services will continue to operate as well.

The services are as follows:

-      The Water Bus will be operating at the Marina Station from 12pm (noon) to 3am, and at the Creek station from 10am to 11pm.

-      The Water Taxi will operate from 9am to 3am.

-      Dubai Ferry services from al Mamzar Station will depart at 4.30pm and 6 pm, from Marina Station at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm and 10:00 pm, and from Al Ghubaiba Station at 11am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 6.30pm.

-      Diesel-powered abras will run services at the Dubai Creek (Festival City) from 11am to 12am (midnight), while electric-powered abras will operate at Atlantis Hotel from 1 pm up to 1am the following day. At Al Mamzar and Global Village the service will run from 4pm to 1am, while services are suspended at Burj Khalifa Dubai Mall.

On Saturday (Prophet’s birthday) services will be as follows:

-      The Water Bus will operate from Marina Station from 12pm (noon) to 12am (midnight), and from Dubai Creek Station from 10am to 11pm.

-      The Water Taxi will operate from 9am to 10pm.

-      Dubai Ferry will operate journeys from Mamzar Station at 4:30pm and 6pm, from Marina Station at 11pm, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 6:30 pm, and from Al Ghubaiba Station at 11am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 5pm and 6.30pm.

-      Diesel-powered abras will run services on the Dubai Creek at Al Shindagha, Al Ghubaiba, and Al Fahidi stations from 3pm to 11pm, while the electric-powered abras will operate from Atlantis Hotel from 1pm to 9 pm.  At Al Mamzar and Global Village the service will run from 4pm to 1am and at Burj Khalifa Dubai Mall from 4pm to 12am (midnight).

Watch this space for more on traveling by car on New Year’s eve.


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