Dubai gears up metro launch

Dubai is gearing up for the opening of its long-awaited metro system in September.

Dubai Metro is staking its claim to becoming the longest fully-automated rail transport system in the world. But more importantly, it is hoped that the system will alleviate Dubai’s chronic congestion problems.

The Metro will connect key locations across the city such as Burj Dubai, the Burj Al Arab, Emirates Towers and Dubai Marina – it will cover a distance of 70km in total.

The 52km red line, running from Jebel Ali to Rashidiya, is scheduled to open on September 9 while the green line is due to come on line in March 2010. The Red line will run along the famous Sheikh Zayed Road on an elevated track, adding yet more interest to the urban landscape of Dubai.

The lines will be operated and maintained by Serco, the company behind the Docklands Light Railway in London and the Copenhagen Metro in Denmark and are predicted to carry 1.2 million passengers per day.

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Dubai’s deputy ruler, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum told officials this week that, when completed, the Dubai Metro would “attract more holidaymakers to the UAE, giving a big boost to internal tourism and energising and diversifying local economy”.

The cost of travelling on the new Dubai Metro, which launches in September, will range between AED1.80 and AED6.50, transport chiefs announced last month.

This compares well to single ticket costs around €1.60 euros (AED8) for the Paris Metro and £4 (AED24) for an adult single zone ticket on the London Underground.

The Metro system in Dubai will be split into five zones and park and ride facilities will be available to the stations free of charge.

Further lines are also planned although the opening dates for these are yet to be confirmed. RTA officials are currently in negotiation with international and local companies over naming rights for some of the 43 stations along the two lines. This form of corporate branding would be a first of its kind and would help to further strengthen links between Dubai and the international business world.