Aiming high: Dh2.5bn Dubai transport plan set to deliver air taxis and sky garden bridge

Roads and Transport Authority says key projects will be funded by public and private sector partnership

Plans to get air taxis off the ground are part of a Dh2.5 billion public transport strategy in Dubai. Photo: Dubai Media Office
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Dubai transport chiefs have approved a Dh2.5 billion public-private sector action plan to bring high-tech air taxis, a metro-linked commercial and residential development and a sky garden bridge to the emirate.

Dubai Roads and Transport Authority announced on Tuesday that 10 key infrastructure projects would be supported under the major investment initiative.

The investment road map – covering 2024 to 2026 – will also include an integrated bicycle network, known as Careem Bike Share, three rest stops and 16 lay-bys for lorries and new multi-level parking areas.

Mattar Al Tayer, director general of the RTA, said securing public and private sector funding was key to the development of public transport services.

“Promoting the public-private partnership (PPP) is crucial to uplifting Dubai's standing and appeal as an investors’ hub,” he said.

“It also contributes to improving the quality of public services, and facilitates the transfer of knowledge, expertise, and innovation from the private to the public sector.”

He said the Careem-backed cycling scheme was in line with the emirate's sustainability goals and would promote healthier lifestyles.

“The project contributes to sustainability in Dubai and encourages a healthy, active lifestyle among residents and tourists by offering alternative transportation choices and improving movement within communities,” said Mr Al Tayer.

The RTA is to construct a residential and commercial complex near Union Station on the Dubai Metro line, called the Union 71 project.

“This urban transit-oriented development project integrates commercial and residential units and retail outlets with the underground metro station,” said the RTA head.

Its proximity to the metro, buses and marine transport stations would enable easy journeys for a wide range of public transport users, said Mr Al Tayer.

“The portfolio also comprises a multi-level parking terminal in Port Saeed and Al Karama, Deira Plaza; smart street lighting; aerial taxi; smart platforms for transport and rental vehicles; housing quarters for drivers in Al Khawaneej, Al Ruwayah, Al Awir, and Jebel Ali; upgrading the commercial development at Al Karama Bus Station; and a sky garden suspended bridge over Dubai Creek.”

Air taxis set for lift-off

Electric air taxis which can carry six passengers are scheduled to begin testing in Dubai next year.

Spanish company Crisalion has been testing Integrity, its zero-emission eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicle, since 2019 in northern Spain. It hopes to introduce the vehicles to Dubai under a partnership with UAE firm Valtrans Transportation Systems and Services.

The Integrity was unveiled at Dubai Airshow last month.

Operations are expected to begin by 2026, with the first vertiports at Dubai International Airport, Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina.

Sky garden bridge

A plan to build a sky garden bridge soaring across Dubai Creek was unveiled in 2019 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

An announcement at the time said the 380-metre long, 60-metre high footbridge would feature cycling and running lanes, shops and shaded areas.

The “Deira plaza” scheme unveiled at the same time is also to be funded under the public-private sector partnership.

Details announced in 2019 revealed it would span 35,000 square metres and include areas for public events.

Updated: December 05, 2023, 12:22 PM