An official opening of the Dubai Tram took place on Wednesday 12 November. Phase one of the $1bn project of Dubai Tram is officially opened to the public today; it was built by a consortium including Besix, Alstom, Serco and Parsons.

The 10.6km-long route has 11 stations and footbridges linking Dubai Tram and Dubai Metro at two stations.  The tramway also intersects with the monorail of the Palm Jumeirah.

Each tramway has a capacity to accommodate up to 405 passengers in seven carriages comprising ‘gold’, woman and children and ‘silver’ cabins.  Unlike the metro, however, the ‘gold’ and women and children sections are at either ends of the tram.

The first tram outside of Europe that runs entirely on an underground power source, with no overhead cables.  The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said it is also the first tram system in the world to be equipped with platform screen doors and boast air-conditioned stations.

Earlier this week, the RTA unveiled the opening hours of the Dubai Tram, which will run from 6:30am to 1:30am from Saturday to Thursday; and 9:00am to 1:30am on Fridays.

There will be a 10-minute interval between trams during peak time and 12 minutes during off-peak. While an operator will be on board at all times.  And a journey around the entire route will take 42 minutes.

Abdulla Yousef Al Ali, RTA Rail Agency’s CEO, said: “Fixing the tram service hours was geared towards meeting the needs of the public and responding to their daily transit patterns, particularly as the tram serves densely populated areas, offering commuter service from and to places of work, besides serving tourist attractions in the Emirate”

The maximum speed of the trams will be 50km/h and Al Ali expects the tram to attract 27,000 passengers per day in 2015 and 66,000 by 2020.

The NOL card is the only fare payment means and there are three fare tiers travel within the seven public transit zones.

The tenders for phase two of the $1bn Dubai Tram project will be released in November 2015, exactly one year after the service begins operations.

Earlier this year, Al Ali, announced that phase two will add another 5 km of track and six stations to this tram network, stretching to the Burj Al Arab and Mall of the Emirates before 2020.  As for phase three, Al Ali said this will extend along Jumeirah Beach Road before 2025.

“We are going to tender phases two and three for new contractors and even new consultants,” said Al Ali.  “Phase two will be one year after finishing phase one.”

Al Ali said safety along the network was paramount and that the RTA and Dubai Police have provided some 10 to 15 extra safety features.  He noted there will be barriers on both sides of the tram, the intersections are elevated from the road level and controlled by traffic signals. There are also warning sounds to alert pedestrians.

In addition to the tram, he said the RTA was exploring other modes of transport in the Zabeel and Burj Khalifa areas such as a people mover system or a monorail.

The first phase of the Dubai Tram network, which officially opens today, will add permanent long term value to residential values in Dubai Marina, according to real estate consultants experts.

It is hoped the 10.6km route around Dubai Marina and along Al Sufouh Road will alleviate some of the chronic traffic issues around that area.

It is also believed that through such localised infrastructure investments, the government has added long term infrastructure premiums to residential values.

A real estate professional said: “The Dubai Tram marks another milestone in the evolution of Dubai’s infrastructure.  Five years on from when the first Dubai Metro trains was launched, residents are now going to get their first taste of community transport infrastructure.”

Like elsewhere in the city, residential values in Dubai Marina have been pegged back by government regulation at a local and federal level, yet we still recorded a 4% rise on average between January and August, against 7% for Dubai as a whole.

“We must, however, take a longer term view as the Dubai tram is exactly the sort of infrastructure that the Dubai Marina area is likely to benefit from, and over time, this will start to significantly impact house prices.

“Tenants and buyers alike are already actively seeking to be as close as practicable to the Marina’s Metro stations, The Beach, and Jumeirah Beach Residence. We expect that the Dubai Tram stations dotted around the Marina will similarly drive demand up in their immediate vicinity.”