Postcard from... Dubai


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Dubai opened its first tram line yesterday, enticing would-be riders with air-conditioned platforms and a premium section for those willing to spend a few more dirhams.

The 6.6 mile (10.6km) street-level line aims to provide alternatives to driving along Dubai’s rapidly developing southwestern coast, an area popular with expatriates and ever-growing numbers of foreign tourists.

The line includes 11 stations linking the skyscraper-jammed Dubai Marina with office parks, hotels and residential areas further up the road. Officials plan to extend the line to include 17 stations. The tram line opened yesterday following fireworks the previous evening. It debuted years behind schedule.

Dubai authorities are eager to promote public transport in this car-loving city. They hope to attract 27,000 a day. Each tram contains a special women-only section and a “gold class” compartment for those willing to pay double the fare of 3 dirhams (around 50p).

Mattar al-Tayer, who heads the Roads and Transport Authority, said the project reflects Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s desire to have a tramway “unprecedented... in terms of safety and luxury in order to deliver classy services to residents and visitors”. AP