Dubai Metro cost 'has risen by billions' – RTA chief

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    The cost of the Dubai Metro project has increased by billions of dirhams since the AED15.5bn ($4.2bn) contract was awarded in 2005, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) chief has said.

    Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the Board and the executive director of the RTA said the construction cost increase ran into billions but he did not reveal the exact figure, adding that it would be announced after the project had been finished.

    More than half of the project has changed in terms of its design and facilities since its inception to cope with the growing needs of the city, Al Tayer added in comments published by UAE daily Gulf News on Thursday.

    He said the integrated public transport projects spearheaded by the metro would change the lifestyle in rapidly expanding urban areas of Dubai and will meet the transport needs of generations to come.

    “Take a ride for once or twice on the Metro and you will get used to it because it is the best metro system in the world,” Al Tayer told the paper.

    Asked about how the metro will change transport use in the emirate, Al Tayer said: “With the launch of the metro, the RTA aims at increasing the current six percent public transport share of commuting to around 30 percent by 2020 and the metro is expected to take 17 percent of this share.”

    Regarding the prospects for the Purple and Blue lines, he added that they were still part of the RTA’s transport plan.

    But on the Purple Line, he conceded: “Due to slowdown in the development in the area and the changes in major development projects along the planned route, it was necessary to re-study the implementation of the project. The lines will be built but following the revised plans.”

    Al Tayer said 10 stations had been awarded brand names after being sponsored by companies but another 12 were still available.

    And he said out of 202 retail outlets in the stations on the Red and the Green lines, 85 percent had been successfully leased out and the RTA was finalising the contract negotiations for the last 15 percent.

    by Andy Sambidge  www.arabianbusiness.com