DUBAI // Buses will be free on Tuesday and Wednesday for those joining the New Year’s celebrations in the areas around Burj Khalifa, and to and from the Palm Jumeirah.
Emaar and Dubai World will bear all operational expenses of the buses. The Roads and Transport Authority expects 50,000 passengers to use the buses over the holiday, and the celebrations at Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa are likely to mean a 30 per cent increase in public transport users.
Taxis are expected to carry 120,400 passengers in 69,000 trips. The world record fireworks show at the Palm on Tuesday night is expected to draw 50,000 spectators. Taxis on the day are expected to take 5,200 passengers in 3,000 trips to and from The Palm.
The special events team at the RTA has prepared a traffic plan for New Year’s eve. The night is usually marked by intense traffic movement, particularly around Dubai Mall and the Palm Jumeirah.
There will be additional parking and direction signs, and 24-hour operation of the Metro from 5.30am on Tuesday.
The Dubai Metro will stop at only three stations – Business Bay, Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa and Financial Centre – from 4pm on Tuesday to 4pm on Wednesday. During that time, the RTA expects about 750,000 passengers on the Red Line and 360,000 passengers on the Green Line.
“We have a ready and approved plan for managing the traffic movement on New Year’s Eve and the team attending to this plan has benefited from previous years’ experience,” said Maitha bin Udai, the team leader and chief executive of RTA Traffic and Roads Agency.
The team has provided 13,500 additional parking spaces near the events area: 8,000 at Meydan, 2,500 at the World Trade Centre, 1,500 at the Residency & Foreigners Affairs Department at Jafiliya and 1,500 at Zaabeel Park.
Signs will show the way to alternative parking and direct traffic to the roads network at Business Bay to access Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road to ease the pressure on Financial Centre Road.
Fences in the central reservation of Sheikh Zayed Road at the Burj Khalifa and the Business Bay areas will deter pedestrian crossing and traffic disruption.
A shuttle service will take the public from the eastern side of Sheikh Zayed Road to the western side. Traffic signals on Financial Centre Road and Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard will be controlled to ensure smooth traffic flow during peak hours.
Sixty additional buses will be deployed to transport Metro users, those in external parking areas and to alternative taxi ranks. Dedicated bus lanes will be applied to ease traffic. Buses will be in operation around the clock in sync with the Metro stations.
Dedicated lanes and parking have been set aside for taxis to access venues. Two main car parks have been allocated: the sandy area of Business Bay at the end of the tunnel extending from street No 312 which can accommodate up to 300 vehicles, and the sandy area alongside the Financial Centre Road, which has room for about 500 vehicles. Both the tunnel and the lane on this street will be restricted to taxis and buses to serve as an express lane from the Trade Centre to the Burj Khalifa. A temporary exit has been set up leading cabs directly from the parking area to Al Khail Road.
For those who plan to watch the fireworks show at The Palm, three checkpoints have been set up, restricting access to pass holders and authorised personnel only.
Entry to the Palm will be denied to all vehicles from 10pm on Tuesday, two hours before the start of fireworks.
Alternative parking areas have been designated outside the Palm and buses will shuttle guests and pass holders to the venue. The sites are the American University lot, which can hold about 600 vehicles, and the sandy area at Dubai Internet City, which has space for 1,300 vehicles.
An area along Al Sufouh Road has been designated for public parking to watch the fireworks. All traffic signals along Al Sufouh Road will be controlled to ease flow.
Forty feeder buses from the Nakheel Harbour and Tower Metro station will shuttle people between the Burj Khalifa and the alternative car parks.
“The traffic light control room will monitor the traffic in the area and the team will direct it according to the requirements of handling the traffic movement and volume at intersections and streets adjacent to the Burj Khalifa,” said Ms bin Udai. “The operation team will be on site to coordinate with the Dubai Police and Emaar and carry out the required amendments.”
She urged everyone to take advantage of public transport during festivities.