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Monday, March 21, 2011

Dubai Metro rises in the desert

Submitted by Salman (dubai on March 27, 2009

Tired of your commute on Sheikh Zayed Road? Failed your driving test for the sixth time? Sick of dealing with rude taxi drivers?

Well, finally, the first-of-its-kind mass transit system in the region is scheduled to begin service in September of 2009. It is a huge undertaking by the government of Dubai and at dubaimoves we eagerly anticipate its arrival. With public service scheduled to start in September 2009, the authorities target that 30% of the population will start utilizing mass transit.

Project Overview

Dubai Metro is a 15.5 Billion AED (4.2 Billion US Dollar) project initiated by the RTA (Roads and Transportation Authority) under the directive of HRH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The first phase build contract was awarded to the Dubai Rail Link consortium (DURL) consisting of Mitsubishi Corporation, Obayashi Corporation, Kajima Corporation and Yapi Merkezi Corporation.

The Dubai Metro Network

The current Metro system design consists of four lines, two under construction and two proposed.

Red Line:
From Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) to Al Rashidiya. This fifty two kilometer line consists of twenty nine stations with twenty four elevated, four underground and one at ground level. The vast majority of the elevated track runs alongside Sheikh Zayed Road, the main freeway. This first line consisting of thirty five stations will also be the first to be completed on September 9, 2009 (9.9.09).

If history is any evidence, the authorities will push very hard to make sure that service starts on this date as such key projects usually have in the past, and ensuring a positive reputation of Dubai is not taken lightly.

However, when the system starts service it is unlikely that all stations will open. Mattar al Tayer, the executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has said that some stations might remain closed because delays in nearby residential developments meant there would not be enough passengers. "Maybe some of the stations may not open because of the ridership," he said, adding that all … stations on the Red Line would be structurally ready on time. He would not say which stations could remain closed.

There are also plans to extend the Red Line from Jebel Ali Free Zone to the Abu Dhabi border as well as to the vast new Al Maktoum International Airport under construction in Jebel Ali.

Green Line: From Festival City through the City Center via the Dubai International Airport and terminating in Jadaf. This twenty two kilometer line has twenty stations with most of those in the City Center underground stations (eight), and those near the Airport and beyond being elevated stations (twelve). The Green Line is scheduled to be complete in March 2010.

Blue Line: This is a proposed line along Emirates Road, but the exact route and stations are under study.

Purple Line: This is a proposed line along Al Khail Road and is intended to be an express route between Dubai International Airport and the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali. The Purple line development schedule has been delayed.

Transfers between Red and Green lines will be possible via the two planned transfer stations at Burjuman Center and at Union Station.

Types of Stations

"Metro stations will have a unique design, merging modernism with tradition," said Engineer Abdul Majid Al Khaja, Chief Executive Officer (CEO ) of the Rail Agency at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

"Their uniquely shell shaped roof, while modern, invokes the heritage of pearl diving – this ancient craft that requires skill and bravery brought early prosperity and is an integral part of Dubai's history.

"The interiors of the stations are uniquely designed in respect of their historical background and by adopting design theme based on one of the four elements of nature: water, air, fire and earth," he said.

Each station has incorporated a theme from the four elements: air, earth, fire and water.

There are three types of metro stations:

Type I Elevated Station (E1): 3 levels

Type II Elevated Station (E2): 2 levels

Type III Elevated station (E3): 3 levels

Typical Underground stations: 3 levels

Interchange Underground Station at BurJjuman and Union Square

Parking and Connections to Other Mass Transit

Limited parking may be available at most stations, but larger parking lots will be available at the Rashidiya and Jumeirah Islands stations along the Red Line as well as the Al Qusais station along the Green Line.

In addition, each Metro station will have adjacent bus and taxi stands. A smart card will be available to allow paying for bus and Metro rides as well as parking facilities.

Operational Aspects

In an effort to provide demographic specific services, three class of service will be offered on the Metro trains. The Gold Class will have upgraded seating. There will be a Women and Children only rail car. And finally there will be a Silver Class or economy class which will be majority of rail cars.

Fares for the metro will be less than ten dirhams for the Silver Class of service with exact fare structure to be announced.

Currently, the Metro service is to be provided daily from 5 am to 12:30 am.

The metro trains are driverless and when completed Dubai Metro will be the longest fully automated line in the world.

Power to the Metro rail cars is provided by a third electrical rail supplying 750 volt DC current. The entire system is powered by three purpose built substations located in Jebel Ali and Union Square.

Business Opportunities

The RTA has classified twenty three stations from Phase 1 (the Red and Green Lines) as those whose Metro Station naming rights can be purchased via a closed bidding process for a minimum of ten years.

On 22 December 2008, the RTA announced that it had raised 1.8 Billion AED as part of the first batch of naming rights as well as the corporations which had won.

The list included:

The RTA has however maintained the naming rights of certain stations located at landmarks and historical locations such as Bani Yas Station.

In addition, there are two to six retail opportunities at each station suitable for convenience stores, small fast-food, and banks.

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