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Dubai Metro completes a successful decade of operations with 1.5bn riders

10 September 2019

Dubai's most ambitious project, the Dubai Metro, completed a decade of operation on 9th September 2019, since its launch on the 9th September 2009. The decade was largely successful marked by a massive number of over 650,000 commuters currently using Metro services on a daily basis. Overall, more than 1.5 billion riders have used the metro in the past 10 years.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, unveiled the Red Line of Metro which spans 52kms comprising 29 stations, between Jebel Ali and Rashidiya.

Exactly two years thereon, on 9th September 2011, Sheikh Mohammed launched the Green Line stretching 23kms with 18 stations. The Green Line stretches between Etisalat Station at Al Qusais and Al Jaddaf near Business Bay Crossing. The two lines intersect at the Union and Burjuman stations.

HE Mattar Al Tayer, the Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors at RTA, celebrated the Metro milestone alongside RTA’s CEOs, Directors and staff members.

dubai metro anniversary

Dubai Metro is the brainchild of Sheikh Mohammed, and reflects his prudent vision for developing world-class infrastructure that represents Dubai as a global hub for finance and business, said Mattar Al Tayer speaking to the press during the occasion.

The public transport contributes to the safe and smooth mobility, improved business environment and enhanced the competitive edge of Dubai when it comes to hosting mega-events, he pointed out.

What makes Metro an outstanding project?

Before launch, Sheikh Mohammed the Metro system was projected as the backbone of a transit system that connects hotspots in the emirate, thereby providing safe and smooth transport for all. To match this supreme vision, Sheikh Mohammed directed to construct metro facilities par excellence.

The news of Metro's success has now travelled wide, and the metro has embellished the global profile of Dubai as a splendid metropolis, business hub, and a destination for a fancy living environment, Al Tayer noted.

The metro is a great addition to Dubai’s iconic landmarks, and uses state-of-the-art technology of the rail industry. It has also carved a niche for itself as the world’s longest driverless metro network.

Increasing Ridership

The Director General of RTA pointed out the growing metro ridership, and said that this reveals that RTA’s plan for increasing the number of public transport riders is headed in the right direction. This reflects the increase in tendency of using mass transport in the community, as people have begun to realize the benefits of using public transports which include peace of mind, less physical strain, smoother mobility and reduced expenditure on fuel and maintenance of vehicles.

Ever-since its launch in 2009, until August this year, Dubai Metro has been used by 1.5bn riders. The number of metro riders soared from 39 million in 2010 to 69 million the next year. The following year, with the launch of Green Line, this number touched 109 million.

In the year 2015, the ridership number grew to 179 million, and by the end of 2018, it crossed the two hundred million barrier, touching 204 million riders.

At present, the Metro serves about 650,000 passengers a day, and this record far surpasses the numbers forecasted when the design phase of the project was happening.

Reasons for success of the Metro

The successful completion of a decade of the Dubai Metro reflects the strategic objective of RTA in raising the share of public transport used in intra-emirate travel to 26 percent by 2030.

Some of the reasons behind Metro’s huge success could be:

The major investments made by the Dubai Government in public transport infrastructure proved successful.

  • Metro supported the flourishing development seen by the Emirate, and served as a stimulant for business and tourism.
  • The public transport helped with safe and smooth transit, improved business environment and improved the competitive edge of Dubai in hosting mega-events such as Expo 2020, for instance.
  • The Metro also helped indirectly by conserving the environment, and by cutting down financial losses of traffic bottlenecks by swapping the demand from private vehicles to public transport. 
  • Al Tayer took the opportunity of the occasion of Metro's 10th anniversary to appreciate the RTA's strategic partners and their contribution towards the success of the metro, the hard work of the Dubai Police and Serco, the operator of the metro network.
  • Another reason for the success was there was no act of vandalism being noted targeting metros facilities.
  • Timely departure of the metro service from inception right from its inception until August 2019 was also clocked in at 99.7 percent.

Metro milestones

  • The Metro has so far completed 2.348 mn journeys and has travelled 81.33 mn kms in the first decade.
  • From the beginning of metro operation in September 2009 to the end of August 2019 6.298 bn transactions have been made using NoI cards. The daily use of these cards is on the rise and has now touched 2.511 million transactions. The total number of NoI cards and tickets amounted to 75.588 million.
  • The automated fare system by RTA comprises of NoI cards and e-purse, and this is a key smart payment platform. It supports the government efforts to transform Dubai into smartest and happiest city in the world. The NOI card features safety features, given, its sophisticated technologies in use. This has won several awards including the best prepaid card in the Middle East. Also, about 1700 processed transactions through e-purse are worth Dh.1.136bn.

Metro Extension Route 2020

On June 29th 2016, Sheikh Mohammed gave the go ahead in awarding the contract of the Route 2020 Project, for extending the Dubai Metro Red Line from Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to the site of Expo 2020.

The contract was awarded to Expolink Consortium comprising French, Spanish and Turkish companies costing Dh.10.6bn.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Executive Council laid the cornerstone of Route 2020 in the same year, marking the beginning of construction works in the project. The Route 2020 stretches 15kms, with 7 stations which includes a transfer station with the Red Line, a station at Expo site, three elevated stations and two underground stations.

The transit time from Dubai Marina Station to Expo Station is likely to be only 16 minutes. The capacity of Route 2020 is likely to touch 46,000 riders every hour in either direction.
RTA studies indicate the ridership of Route 2020 will touch 125,000 per day in 2020, with the number likely to touch 275,000 riders by the year 2030.

Metro facts:

  • The Dubai Metro extends 75kms with 52km along Green Line and 23km on the Green Line.
  • The Metro route is partly underground and the rest is an elevated track. A limited sector of Red Line runs above-ground.
  • Every metro train comprises five air-conditioned cabins with capacity to accommodate 650 commuters, with all trains being driverless.
  • There are 79 trains available for metro service in total, with 51 on Red Line and 16 along Green Line.
  • By 2020, the Dubai Metro will grow to serve 700,000 riders every day and 255 million riders per annum.
  • The interior design of the metro stations along both Red and Green Lines and route 2020 features six symbolic design themes: Heritage, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Future Dubai symbolised in Expo station.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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