On the right track

Nisthula Nagarajan
Filed on September 9, 2021 | Last updated on September 9, 2021 at 06.10 pm

Dubai Metro is celebrating its 12th anniversary today with expo 2020 Dubai less than a month away, let us celebrate its initiatives and milestones

On September 9, 2009, at precisely 9.09.09 pm, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Dubai Metro, signalling the start of the official operation of the Red Line, and with that, the inauguration of the longest driverless metro project in the world. It is a date that marks the birth of one of Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) most vital projects.

In November of 2014, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, inaugurated Dubai Tram, the first tramway project outside of Europe powered by a ground-based electric supply system extending along the track.

And on July 7, 2020, Sheikh Mohammed launched the official operations of 'Route 2020' to the Expo 2020 Dubai site to a resounding success, marking a new milestone in the Dubai Metro's journey.

'Route 2020' launched its maiden journey on January 1, 2021, with four elevated stations - Jebel Ali, The Gardens, The Discovery Gardens and Al Furjan.

This year, Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Dubai's RTA, had announced the opening of several new metro stations. The underground Dubai Investment Park Station and the elevated Expo 2020 Station opened on June 1, and the Jumeirah Golf Estates Station, the largest underground station on the Dubai Metro, opened on September 1.

The Jebel Ali Station serves as the interchange station for those heading to or coming from the UAE Exchange Station.

Every station on Route 2020 was opened following the successful completion of all tests relating to the performance efficiency and safety of the rail systems, and the test runs by the network operator to verify its readiness before the start of the public service.

"Thirty-one successful trial tests were conducted spanning the operations control centre, stations operations, rolling stock crews, engineering and maintenance teams and emergency services. RTA also completed the training of 152 staff for Phase II of Route 2020 operation," explained Al Tayer.

Journey on Route 2020

The travel time between Al Rashidiya and Expo Stations is one hour and 14 minutes. The service frequency is two minutes and 38 seconds during peak time at a rate of 24 trains per hour per direction and a capacity of 16,000 riders per hour per direction.

RTA has designated 35 buses to serve the Route 2020 stations to commute riders to and from the metro stations," commented Al Tayer. Each station that opened this year also provides parking slots for People of Determination, space for commercial investment and taxi and bus stands.

Route 2020 has a capacity of 46,000 riders per hour in both directions (23,000 riders per hour per direction). RTA's studies anticipate increase in number of riders to 275,000 riders per day by 2030. Studies also reveal that the Expo Station is expected to record about 35,000 daily visitors of Expo during weekdays, and the number is expected to increase to 47,000 daily visitors during weekends. This number accounts for 29 per cent of the total expected number of daily visitors to Expo.

The iconic Expo 2020 Station is the terminal station of Route 2020 that mainly serves visitors of the expo. It has a unique plane-wing design symbolising Dubai's future drive towards innovation.

Strategic new beginnings

A French-Japanese consortium has won a contract for the operation and maintenance of the Dubai Metro as well as the operation of the Dubai Tram as of September 8. The contract covers 15 years (nine base years and six renewable years) and amounts to approximately Dh542 million per annum. The consortium consists of three companies namely Keolis, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering and Mitsubishi Corporation. The contract also covers the operation and maintenance of the automated metro and fare systems, including the selling and recharging of nol cards at the metro stations. It calls for providing senior, technical and administrative posts for Emiratis and training them on the rail work.

Marie-Ange Debon, CEO, Keolis Group, said: "Keolis boasts extensive experience in managing automated metro and tram networks, and is a multimodel operator working closely with 300 public transport authorities every day to guarantee safe, reliable and passenger-focused mobility solutions. We look forward to nurturing a collaborative partnership with RTA to deliver their vision of smart, sustainable and convenient public transportation for the city."