Dubai faithful to leave for Abu Dhabi 11 hours before Mass starts

Catholic worshippers to exercise virtue of patience for historic visit

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Buses ferrying the faithful from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for next week’s Papal Mass will start setting off the day before the event, despite the venue being a 90-minute drive away.

Gates at the venue, Zayed Sports City Stadium, will open at 5am on Tuesday, more than five hours before the Mass starts at 10.30am.

According to information distributed to those who have already received their tickets for Mass, one Dubai access hub will open at 11.15pm on Monday. The first bus will then leave Dubai at 11.45pm – almost 11 hours before the event begins.

The first to arrive from the Dubai hubs will then face about a three hour wait until the gates open.

We'll probably get there about 4am but we are happy to wait. It's a privilege to be at a Mass said by The Pope

But those with tickets said they will not be put off by long waiting times.

“We’ll probably get there about 4am but we are happy to wait. It's a privilege to be at a Mass said by The Pope,” said Rudolph Pinto, from India.

"He is the head of our religion and is the representative of Jesus himself.”

Worshippers in Abu Dhabi still face an early start, albeit a shorter day.

People bussed in from a hub in Musaffah have been told parking will close at 5.30am, despite being just a 20 to 25-minute drive from the stadium.

There are several options for people travelling to the event, including walking to the venue.

Worshippers can also board free buses leaving from a number of transport hubs across the UAE ,which will take them directly to the venue, or they can drive to Yas Island, where they will leave their cars at Yas Gateway Park access hub before boarding shuttle buses to Zayed Sports City.

Organisers of the papal visit announced additional details regarding bus pick-up points on Tuesday.

There will be single pick-up points in Al Ain, Jebel Ali, Mussafah and Ruwais and the Yas Gateway park and ride facility on Yas Island, with other spots spread across other parts of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Residents of Sharjah will use only one hub in Dubai, which is in the Muhaisnah district, said the report carried by state news agency, Wam.

Organisers are urging people to bring their own food and beverages for the trip.

Father Michael O’Sullivan, the UAE papal visit co-ordinator on behalf of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, said efforts have been made to ensure thousands of parishioners can attend the Mass.

"We have been working closely to ensure the most efficient way to help the tens of thousands of our parishioners who wish to participate in the Mass reach Abu Dhabi by buses," he said.

"Naturally the logistics behind something of this scale are hugely complex and the timings reflect the sheer numbers of people who are expected to travel and to ensure that everyone is able to reach the Zayed Sports Stadium area in plenty of time for the Mass.

"As the Mass will be taking place in the morning the timings are in place to ensure that there is a balanced flow of individuals coming to their designated pick-up point to benefit from the free transport the UAE Government has so generously provided."

According to the official UAE Papal Visit website, access hubs will be chosen upon collection of the tickets. They cannot be changed once selected and worshippers must arrange their own travel to the hub.

Those wishing to drive to Abu Dhabi should select the Yas Gateway Access Hub. The timing for free shuttle buses to the venue will be displayed on the transport ticket.

Each person must present both their entry ticket to the event and transport ticket to board a shuttle bus, with strict “no ticket, no travel” rules in place.

The transport ticket will display both the access hub and the departure time.

It is advisable for UAE residents to carry their Emirates ID along with their tickets, according to the Church.

About 135,000 people are expected to attend the event.