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Metro mania: Green with pride

Shafaat Ahmed (shafaat@khaleejtimes.com) / 8 September 2011

All roads will lead to Dubai Metro’s Green Line on Friday when it will be flagged off by Shaikh Mohammed. The public can have the ride of their life on the new link from Saturday.

1/10 It may have taken two years coming, but it has been well worth the wait. Shafaat Ahmed takes you on a quick journey of the Green Line, bringing you stats and facts and all that you need to know about the rail network’s new addition .

All roads will lead to Dubai Metro’s Green Line on Friday when it will be flagged off by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The public can have the ride of their life on the new link from Saturday.Delays and speculation apart, the Green Line will go a long way to boost the transport system in the Emirate. The glitzy stations are open and blue-streaked trains are set to make distances short on the new track.

With the Metro already leading public transport numbers in Dubai  with a daily ridership of 160,000, the new stretch is expected to expand the mass transit culture with an expected initial daily ridership of  100,000 more people.

At 23kms, the Green Line may not be as long as the Red Line, which spans 52kms, but it snakes through the most vital locations of Dubai, dotted with 20 stations.

The Green Line is expected to solve multiple problems of  of the perennially clogged Central Business Districts (CBD), from traffic congestion to parking issues. It is also expected to help boost business and tourism in the area and provide greater access to some localities where driving personal vehicles is a nightmare.

Metro  is expected to reduce journey time by at least 40 per cent compared to time taken by other modes of transport to travel in CBD areas.

“We think it (Green Line) is going to be a greater success then the Red Line because of the areas it covers and RTA is mulling a major turnaround of CBD based on the response to this line,” said Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Metro Operation, at RTA’s Rail Agency.

He added that the RTA is expecting a a big rush on the Metro once the Green Line starts and that the network has the capacity to handle any kind of demands during all situations.

Anticipating  demand, the Rail Agency has also increased the number of trains running on the Red Line. Fifty trains will run on both lines during peak hours, while 28 will ply during off peak hours. The Green Line will have 14 trains running during peak hours and 10 during off-peak hours.

The schedule of the Metro has also changed with trains running an hour more during weekends as well as on weekdays. Services will begin on both lines at 6am and will end at 12 midnight, Saturday to Wednesday. The schedule will be extended to 1am on Thursdays. On Friday the trains would start at 1pm and end at 1 am.

Tracking the journey

The Green Line begins at Etisalat station, which has fire as its theme, and faces the Emirates Road and the Oud Al Muteena area. The station has an adjoining park-and-ride facility with a capacity to hold 2,300 cars. It then moves to Al Qusais, which has a water-based theme. The station serves the Ministry of Education and  Dubai Municipality complex. among other government departments and private establishments.The next stop is the Dubai Airport Freezone, which has an earth-inspired theme, and serves Freezone, Airport Terminal 2, Al Tawar area as well as Government Colony.

The line then stops at Al Nahda station, whose interiors are inspired by a water theme. The station faces the Ministry of Public works building,

Al Bustan Centre and UAE Youth Hostel.

Next up is the Stadium Station, named after the Al Ahli Club stadium which is a stone’s throw away from the Lulu Hypermarket.

Al Qiyadah station is named after Dubai Police Headquarters, which shines in the background. It is the only stop on the busy Al Ittihad Road. From here the track moves to Salah Al Din street, which has three stations.

The first is Abu Hail, which is connected to the Abu Hail Bus stop serving a series of retail outlets, workshops as well as residential areas.

Getting its name from Islam’s first Caliph, the Abu Bakr Al Siddique station is located near Muraqqabat Police station and serves a number of shopping centres and the hardware and building materials market.

A short distance from here the line goes underground and stops at Salah Al Din station which faces Reef Mall and is a few hundred metres away from Fish Roundabout. The station serves hundreds of residential buildings as well as hotels.

Union station comes next where the two lines first meet and passengers can transfer without any extra charge.

The station has Earth as its theme and at 25,000 square metres, is one the largest in world with a capacity to handle 22,000 passengers per hour.

The line then moves to the heart of Old Dubai, stopping at Baniyas station at Baniyas square, also known as Nasr Square. The area is Dubai’s busiest, with majority of wholesale and retail businesses running out of the area.

Moving on further, the line stops at Palm Deira station, which has the Fish market on one side and the imposing Hyatt Regency on the other. Gold shoppers can hop and off here.

From Gold Souq, the Green Line stops at another nerve centre, Al Ras, which houses the city’s old souqs, spice market, food stuff market and wholesale shops.

It crosses the Creek underwater to another busy area of Al Ghubaiba. The station is connected to Al Ghubaiba Bus terminal and, along with the Al Ras station is an extension of area’s heritage buildings.

Al Fahidi Station follows, which serves the textile market, Meena Bazaar and the famed Al Fahidi street.

The second largest station on the Metro network, Khalid bin Al Waleed, is the next stop and the second crossing on the network. The station is surrounded by high-end offices, banks, malls as well as residences.

The line becomes elevated again and stops at Oud Metha, another big hub which is expected generate a lot of traffic. The area has landmarks like Rashid Hospital, Dubai TV, Indian High School and Al Nasr Club.

Dubai Healthcare City, the last station on the line, serves landmarks such as Wafi City, Raffles and DEWA headquarters.

 

Nol Cards:

Silver

A non-personalised card with an e-purse that can be topped up to Dh500. Standard fares deducted depending on the trips made. The card can also be used to pay parking fees. Charges: Dh20, including a Dh14 e-purse value

Gold

A non-personalised card with features that are similar to the Silver Card, but grants access to the metro’s privileged Gold Class at premium fare. Charges: AED 20, including Dh14 e-purse

Blue

A personalised card with a secure e-purse that can be topped up to Dh500. Charges: Dh70

Red Ticket

A paper ticket that can be bought from stations for a maximum of 10 trips.

Daily pass

A Red Ticket that is worth Dh16 and could be used for unlimited trips throughout a day.

Special needs:

A nol blue card that is valid for three years and is worth Dh70 is issued for people with special needs, who can travel free on all modes of transport.

Student pass:

Personalised nol blue cards are available of students with 50 per cent discount on fares.

Senior citizens:

Personalised nol blue cards available for Emiratis above the age of 60, with 50 per cent discount on fares

Monthly passes

Monthly passes are personalised nol Blue cards that are available for frequent travellers, who wish to pay less and travel more. The monthly passes come in three denominations and can be procured at stations for a one-time charge of Dh70.

 

 
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