The Operations Control Center (OCC) of the Dubai Metro, situated at the Metro Depot, Al Rashidiya, is the watchful eye of trains’ movement 24 hours a day in order to ensure the safety of commuters.
The opening of the Green Line will surely add more burdens on the staff of the OCC in terms of monitoring and exercising total control of systems, stations and depot with a view to detecting & rectifying any emergent failure and ensuring highly efficient and safe running trains.
Explaining the operations of the OCC, the Director of Rail Operation, Rail Agency, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) Ramadan Abdullah, said: “The OCC comprises two parts; one dedicated to the Red Line and the other to the Green Line. About 20 fresh employees have been recruited to work on 3 shifts to track and monitor the Green Line particularly noting that each line of surveillance screens is totally separated from the other. There are also two giant screens for both lines and overall there are 37 stand-alone screens for the Red Line and 28 stand-alone screens for the Green Line. The OCC staff, who are deployed 24/7 play a huge role in monitoring all aspects of the metro including the movement of the rolling stock and stations on both lines in order to detect any fault, even if minor, and respond promptly to provide an alternative service. They also attend to following-up maintenance works, and run a trial train, before the start of the actual service time, to ensure that the rail track is free from any objects.
“The OCC features world-class specifications in terms of the unique design befitting its job nature, thus ensuring tranquility and full comfort to employees, particularly as the facility contains crucial systems that have to be monitored and closely watched by the OCC staff, including Automatic Trains Movement Control System; which is responsible for operating & moving the trains, and always ensuring a safe braking distance between trains. The facility also harbours systems to monitor the station’s fire systems, cameras, lighting systems, lifts and others as well as environment monitoring systems; which are sensors fitted at stations to check the station’s temperature level. The Center also has important communication systems through which the staff can communicate with the public and station staff by means of audio systems to offer them appropriate guidance in case of sudden change in trains movement.
“The OCC consists of several sections contributing to the highly efficient operation of the Center, including CCTV cameras supervised by the Security Officer whose job is to watch cameras output and cope up with various security incidences at the stations including indecent conduct, complaints, and comments from the public among others. The Officer is entitled to intervene and communicate with station masters to contain the situation in a proper manner, particularly noting that each station has a room for the station director fitted with control systems of the station itself; which contribute to the accurate monitoring of the systems inside the stations, thus offering greater focus in the management & control of the station in a detailed manner ensuring the safety of the public in particular and enabling follow-up of repair of systems and faults in general.
“Inside Al Rashidiya Depot there are employees specialized in streamlining the movement of trains on the rail track, operating the line, increasing the number of trains during peak time, reducing the number of trains during off-peak time and terminating the rail service. Other staff are deployed to monitor trains movement along the rail track, and ensure the smooth movement of trains such that no delays are caused. In the event of any obstacle, immediate and direct action will be taken to sort out the problem. There is also a Manager for the OCC deployed in each shift who is directly responsible for ensuring the functionality of the Center and that appropriate decisions are taken,” continued the Director of Rail Operation.
Explaining the key principles of selecting employees for joining the OCC, Ramadan stated that there were certain important standards for selecting employees for employment in the Center. “Following the selection process, inductees are subjected to intensive courses about the principles of safety, verbal communication and communication, in addition to specialist technical courses among others, about the core business and trains operation. Inductees will then have training exposure for a period ranging from 3 to 6 months in the OCC where they will be acquainted with all systems in use in Dubai Metro. It is a prerequisite that the applicant has to have a 3 years experience in the field of work. These courses are vital in orienting the new staff to the system adopted in Dubai Metro, particularly as each metro in the world has its own system. The OCC adopts employees work efficiency system under which the system assesses at successive intervals the extent of each inductee’s skills to ensure his or her efficiency,
in a process carried out by specialist & competent experts in training & human resources,” added Ramadan in a final remark.