A bus network for new Metro line

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    DUBAI // Seven of the Dubai Metro’s stations will be served by bus routes when the flagship transportation project launches in less than three weeks, a transport source has said.

    A Metro train parked at Jebel Ali station in Dubai.
    A Metro train parked at Jebel Ali station in Dubai.

    When the Metro begins service on September 9, seven of the first-phase Red Line’s 29 stations will be linked by 25 bus routes passing through residential areas.

    Forty-one such bus routes should eventually serve the Red Line.
    The routes will initially serve the stations at Ibn Battuta Mall, Terminal Three at Dubai International Airport, Al Rashidiya, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai International Financial Centre, Jumeirah Islands and Dubai Marina, according to an official of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    “There will be more routes launched after Ramadan, but these are the first ones,” he said.

    Jumeirah Islands Station and Al Rashidiya Station will also have free parking for motorists who drive to the stations.

    The RTA describes the Dubai Metro as the backbone of the emirate’s new, integrated public transportation system, from which other services including buses, water taxis and abras will branch out across the city.

    The authority hopes that 30 per cent of Dubai’s population will use public transport by 2020, up from the current six per cent.

    Trains on the Red Line – which stretches 52km from Jebel Ali along Sheikh Zayed Road and across Dubai Creek – will start operating on September 9.

    The second phase, the Green Line, is scheduled to launch next year.

    The buses will be vital to Metro’s success as they will ferry passengers to and from the rail stations, according to the RTA. Eventually, buses will loop through residential and business areas, stopping at each of the Red Line stations.

    Some of routes will also link the Metro stations to each other.

    “Some of the stations will have lots of new routes, and some will not,” the RTA official said.

    “The Ibn Battuta Mall Station will be a busy hive of activity. As of now, stations in the central business district will not have any new feeder routes, but there are already existing lines running through them.”

    Ibn Battuta Mall will have seven bus routes – including the F43, F46 and F53, which have been operating since last June in preparation for the September 9 launch.

    Mall of the Emirates and Airport Terminal Three will have four feeder routes, and Dubai Mall will be linked to the Dubai International Financial Centre Station.

    The Jumeirah Islands Station will be linked to the Marina Station via a feeder route.

    The Green Line, which is expected to launch next March, will have 150 buses serving its 18 stations.

    RTA buses will be fitted with an automatic fare collection system to read passengers’ fare cards, which will also be valid on metro trains and water buses.

    In June, the RTA announced an order for 518 buses, costing Dh846 million (US$230m), to be delivered by next April.

    Three hundred buses will be required to serve the 41 Red Line feeder routes, which will include 10 existing routes that have been modified. Buses are expected to run every 10 minutes, on average.

    Dubai’s introduction of air-conditioned bus shelters is expected to facilitate the bus service and entice more people on to public transport. Already, 645 cooled shelters are in use, and the RTA plans to increase that number to 1,500.

    All buses for the Red Line’s 25 feeder routes will operate from the new Dh400m public bus depot in Rawiyya, which began operating two weeks ago.

    The Dh205m phase-one development included the construction of the bus parking yard, a workshop and a vehicle washing unit.

    Phase two will incorporate a building for 40 employees and quarters to accommodate 444 drivers.

    The second phase will include restaurants, retail outlets and a mosque for 250 worshippers.

    eharnan@thenational.ae  Eugene Harnan www.thenational.ae