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Nice and Easy, but Fares Not So Fair

Joy Sengupta / 7 May 2009

DUBAI — Commuters taking a ride on the swanky Palm Monorail, which started its operations on April 30, will have to pay Dh15 for a trip between the Gateway Station and the Atlantis Aquaventure Station and Dh25 for a single round trip.

Nearly 600 people have used the service since its launch and have found the ride and pleasant experience. However, some felt that the fares could have been a bit on the lower side.

“It’s a good ride and you don’t have to use the car for every single trip. The fares are okay, but they could have been a bit cheaper considering it’s a public mode of transport,” said Dorothy, a resident of The Palm. 

The ‘driverless’ system, costing Dh4.1 billion, runs on a 5.45kms fully elevated double track system. 

The Monorail has got a full proof safety and security system capable of handling any kind of emergency, a senior SMRT (Singapore Mass Rapid Transit) official said on Wednesday.

Among them is a facility through which the rail can be operated ‘manually’ in case of an untoward situation, said Shahrin Bin Abdol Salam, General Manager of the SMRT Middle East,  the company the has been given the responsibility of operating and maintaining the project.

Speaking on the sidelines of the official launch, Marwan Al Qamzi, the Executive Managing Director of the Nakheel Southern Projects, said that four trains, each consisting of three carriages had started running between the 2 stations from 8am till 10pm.

There are plans to connect the monorail with the Tecom Station of the Dubai Metro on Shaikh Zayed Road in the future. 

The under-construction Palm Jebel Ali might also see the monorail with transport options open at the moment, the official said. 

In addition, Palm Jumeirah residents might get to enjoy special seasonal tickets with Nakheel considering the option, he said.

At present, the trains have a capacity to carry 2,400 passengers per hour, per day. However, the “system will be increased to a total of nine trains with a capacity of 6,000 passengers per hour, per day once connected to the Dubai Metro,” said Al Qamzi.

He said that the team had evaluated different transport options for the Palm Jumeirah and had chose the monorail in a bid to provide a safer and easier mode of transport and give a boost to the tourism sector.

Two more stations, namely the Trump Tower Station and the Palm Mall station, will be fully operational by 2011, the flashing information board read.

Each of the two stations has got adequate parking facilities, which should encourage people to park their private vehicles, and use the public transport mode.

Earlier, Nakheel had said that the trains would run every three minutes during the peak hours and every 12-15 minutes during the off peak hours.

Meanwhile, Abdol Salam said that the entire system was fully electronic and each trains has attendants to look after passengers and to do the needful during an emergency, with an evacuation plan in place, should the need arise. The Operations Room is also monitored 24 hours. The train can reach a maximum speed of 70km/hour.

The monorail almost reaches its top speed between the stretch from the Palm Mall to the Atlantis, the official said.         

joy@khaleejtimes.com

 
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