On a blue streak

As Dubai Metro marks its first anniversary, Khaleej Times brings to you in detail the railways’ landmark achievements and Green Line set to open in 2011

By Shafaat Ahmed

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Published: Wed 8 Sep 2010, 10:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:39 PM

It’s been a year already and it seems just yesterday that we eagerly waited to see those gleaming blue trains run across the city of Dubai. An eventful year it has been — full of milestones, achievements and records.

From 1.8 million passengers in October 2009 to 3.3 million in August 2010, the rise has been phenomenal, way beyond what anyone had imagined and now with more stations opening and the second line getting ready, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has its sight set on bigger goals.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the occasion, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA Mattar Al Tayer said, “This is a moment of honour for Dubai and manifestation of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s great vision. We are proud of our achievements and we thank everyone for being with us through this.”

He said Dubai Metro is one of the great success stories of the emirate and the numbers say it all.

“The number of Dubai Metro users has risen incredibly since 09/09/2009 jumping from 1.8 million passengers in October 2009 to 3.3 million passengers in August 2010, recording in the process a growth rate of 183 per cent. In September 2009, the metro clocked 2,196,920 passengers and in October 1,767,879 passengers. The number of monthly passengers served by the metro broke the two million barrier in December 2009 and continued to grow steadily to hit 3,193,087 passengers in May 2010 and the number still showed further growth to 3,301,959 passengers in August 2010,” said Al Tayer, putting the figures in perspective.

The daily ridership of Dubai Metro jumped from 54,683 passengers in October 2009 to 116,340 passengers in June 2010, recording a growth rate of 212 per cent. In July this year, the metro daily ridership hit an all-time high as the number of passengers who used the metro on July 1 reached 130,529 passengers.

Further highlighting the rail network’s achievements, CEO of the RTA’s Rail Agency Adnan Al Hammadi said: “This is indeed a great achievement for the RTA considering that our ridership has reached 120,000 passengers. I would rank our achievement as 8 out of 10. Over the past six months, we have constantly scored over 98.7 per cent for availability and over 95.2 per cent punctuality. During August 2010, we scored 99.4 per cent for availability and 98.8 per cent for punctuality. I personally feel this is overwhelming, considering the first year of operations and we aim to reach 100 per cent in terms of availability and punctuality.”

Outlining the future way forward, Al Hammadi said: “The only way from here is for the RTA to achieve an increase in public transport share from current 10 per cent to 30 per cent by 2020. This will be achieved by operating new metro and tram lines, beefing up the bus fleet, and improving and introducing different modes of marine transportation.”

Taking the service to the next level, he said the RTA would introduce monthly and seasonal passes, student cards, and senior citizen cards by the first quarter of 2011. Work is also in progress on the launch of Metro’s postal services.

“As planned with DHL, the infrastructure preparation is expected to start after Eid holidays and the service implementation is expected to be launched by December.”

With the Red Line now running to almost full capacity, its sister, the Green Line, is now eagerly awaited by all. Commuters can take heart from the fact that work on the Green Line is in full swing and firmly on track. Al Hammaid assured commuters that the Green Line would begin operations as scheduled in 2011.

“Currently, internal finishing installation works are in progress for all underground and elevated stations. External roof cladding works for all stations and entrance pods are at very advanced stages. Erection of footbridges for the whole Green Line is completed and cladding works are going on. The reinstatement of major roads has started. We are scheduled to open the Green Line operations as announced earlier in 2011.”

Timeline

JULY, 2005

The design and construction contract of the Dubai Metro Project was awarded to Dubai Rapid Link Consortium.

MARCH 21, 2006

Construction work begins.

JULY 29, 2006

First concrete pile of the elevated track put up between the 6th and 7th Interchanges of Shaikh Zayed Road.

JANUARY 10, 2007

First tunnelling work from Al Ittihad towards Dubai Creek up to Khalid bin Al Waleed.

MARCH 7, 2008

First carriages arrive at Jebel Ali Port.

SEPT. 20, 2008

First technical trial run on the test track stretching 11km from Jebel Ali to Ibn Battuta.

JULY 5, 2009

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Viwce-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inspects works in the tunnel in a 6km ride from City Center via Al Riqqa and Al Ittihad up to Khalid bin Al Waleed.

SEPT. 9, 2009

Shaikh Mohammed inaugurates Dubai Metro’s initial 10 stations.

JANUARY 4, 2010

The opening of the Burj Khalifa Station to mark Dubai’s Accession Day celebrations and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

APRIL 30, 2010

Seven new metro stations — Emirates Airlines, Airport Terminal 1, Al Karama, Emirates Towers, Dubai Internet City, Marina, and Ibn Battuta.

MAY 15, 2010

Three more stations — GGICO, Trade Center, Noor Islamic Bank.

shafaat@khaleejtimes.com



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