Motorists and visitors to the Dubai Marina say they do not want to drive anywhere near Dubai Tram during peak hours fearing fines, traffic jams.
Extremely long waits at the Dubai Marina traffic signals are testing the patience of motorists, including residents and visitors. They say driving into The Walk and the Marina during weekends and peak hours is an awful experience.
According to long-term residents, with almost one year into the inauguration of the Dubai Tram, the traffic situation has not improved in the Dubai Marina.
Commuters and drivers also said that the exorbitant fines for being involved in an accident tram, makes them ‘not want to drive anywhere near it’.
During peak hour morning and evening traffic, a red signal on Sufouh Street turning left into the JBR1 Tram station lasts close to 2.30 minutes. This causes severe tailbacks.
Pakistani national and Marina resident Muhammed Nadeem said: “It has been almost a year since the tram was launched.
“We suffered massively for four years during the construction of the Dubai Tram. However, there has been just minor improvement. The duration of the traffic signals in the Marina has been adjusted solely to suit the movement of the tram.”
Another resident, Robin Cayabyab, a Filipino said: “It is really bad during the weekends. Over the week, the peak traffic hours are from 8am to 10am, and 5pm to 9pm.”
The Dubai Tram was launched in November 2014 and the 10-kilometre long pilot project has been operating with minimum glitches since then.
There have been two reported accidents where cars collided with the Tram near the Jumeirah Beach Residences intersection.
However, despite the traffic setbacks, the Dubai Tram was used by 1,552,756 riders during the first half of 2015.
According to earlier statements from the Road and Transport Authority (RTA), traffic fines for 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, along with suspension of the offender’s driving licence for up to one year.
Dev Saransh, an Indian, said: “I am very nervous while I drive near the trams. I am constantly worried if I’d take the wrong turn and be fined for it. Another nightmare in the Marina is lack of decent parking facilities. If people can park their cars easily, there would be less traffic problems.”
British national and resident of the Marina Victor Benson, a British resident of Marina, said: “The Bridge after the Marina Mall, until the JBR 1 tram station, and the entire Walk are worst affected during weekends and peak timings.”
He added: “All traffic junctions and the exit ways and entry ways from and into Sheikh Zayed Road are choker block. There is no point in getting a car during this time.”
Randy Fojas, a Filipino store keeper in the Marina said: “People are scared to drive as well. The fines for meeting with an accident with the tram are so steep. The frequency of the signals must change. Waiting for two and half minutes for the signal to clear is a little too long.”
An offender can be fined between Dh5,000 and Dh15,000 for crossing a red traffic signal at the tramway intersection, and the licence can be revoked for 30 days to six months.
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, with a possible loss of driving licence for a period of 30 days to three months.
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