Watch: Abu Dhabi City's new tram-like electric buses now operating

Free Autonomous Rapid Transit service connects Reem Mall to Rixos Marina on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Abu Dhabi launches new tram-like electric buses

Abu Dhabi launches new tram-like electric buses
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A new tram-like electric bus is now operating in Abu Dhabi city.

The Autonomous Rapid Transit vehicles run on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, connecting Reem Mall with Rixos Marina Abu Dhabi in a 14-stop route.

The vehicles, which can carry up to 240 passengers were initially launched on Yas Island in December, as part of Abu Dhabi's Smart Mobility Project.

The Abu Dhabi ART service stops at Marina Square, The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Sheikh Hazza Bin Sultan Mosque, City Seasons Al Hamra Hotel, Lifeline Hospital, NMC Specialty Hospital, Qasr Al Hosn, Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel, Khalidiya Park, Sheikha Fatima Park, Corniche and Marina Mall.

The first service leaves Reem Mall at 10am and arrives at Rixos Marina Mall in just over an hour.

There are five services each way, leaving on the hour from Reem Mall, and returning at quarter past the hour, with the final service arriving at just after 4pm.

Timings and tracking of the service are available on the Darbi app, from the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport in Abu Dhabi.

Passengers just need to scan the QR code on the vehicle with the Txai app to use the free service.

On Yas Island the ART operates an hourly route, from 8am to 8pm, from Gateway Park South 2 to Yas Waterworld, taking in Yas Hotels, Yas Marina Circuit and Ferrari World.

Driverless future

The Smart Mobility Project, a collaboration between the DMT, the ITC and Bayanat, aims to introduce a smart mobility system for the emirate.

The system on Yas Island and Saadiyat Island currently has a fleet of 17 vehicles, including eight driverless taxis operated by Txai, six driverless Mini Robobuses, three ART vehicles and 15 charging stations.

The 47.5km-long self-driving taxi route on Saadiyat Island includes stops at Mamsha Saadiyat, Al Manarat, NYU Abu Dhabi, The St Regis Hotel, Saadiyat Beach, Theodore Monod French International High School (Lycée Français International Théodore Monod), Jumeirah, Saadiyat Beach Residences and Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi.

The service runs from 8am to 8pm throughout the week.

Self-driving robobuses operate on both Yas and Saadiyat Islands between 8am and 8pm. The service connects the Saadiyat beach area to the Louvre and Ferrari World with Yas Mall, Yas Plaza, Etihad Arena, Waterworld and the W Hotel. Full details and timings are on the Txai app.

Txai operated a driverless bus service to carry fans attending last November's Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Testing of driverless vehicle operations on Yas Island by Bayanat has been supported by Chinese autonomous driving start-up WeRide, which in July was granted the UAE's first preliminary national licence for self-driving cars.

WeRide vice president Jennifer Li told The National in August that it is planning to have hundreds of autonomous vehicles on the roads by 2025.

“2025 is going to be a big year and we hope by then there will be more autonomous cars on the street, here in the UAE … so we're hopeful to get to [hundreds of vehicles here],” she said.

In the past 18 months, more than 10,000 passengers have tried the driverless taxis in Abu Dhabi.

Updated: October 18, 2023, 10:36 AM