Dubai metro: Fare is the key

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    © XPRESS/Karen Dias The plans to roll out Dubai Metro on September 9 remain on track
    © XPRESS/Karen Dias The plans to roll out Dubai Metro on September 9 remain on track

    Dubai Metro passengers could be subject to a distance-based fare system when the rail project – the Red Line – opens on September 9, said a source close to the project. Stations that are close to each other could be grouped into zones within which riders – using single tickets or prepaid smartcards – would pay the same amount to travel.

    However, riding the Metro for longer distances between different zones could cost more, said the source stressing that no final plan has yet been handed down from departments overseeing the fare structure.

    Distance-based fares are already in place at Metro systems around the world where passengers pay more for longer journeys but far less for quick jaunts.

    “They’re looking at various options; it’s a very complicated project. How fares will be structured has not been completely finalised,” said the source.
    Getting ready

    Testing, meanwhile, has been carried out on select pieces of the new Automatic Fare Collection System earmarked specifically for the Metro to ensure it works when the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) throws the big switch.
    Metro overseers took delivery of key pieces of equipment late last year, including 385 fare gates, 160 self-service ticket vending machines and 151 ticket offices to be installed at Metro stations.

    In each station, there will be five outlets – three ticket offices and two self-service ticket machines – to serve the public. The service is being overseen by Thales [an electronics and systems group] of France which said it will implement a system that accepts “a single ticket or contactless card”.

    Metro passes will be offered in different colours depending on which level of travel service is demanded by riders and offered via different classes of cars on the Metro’s 87 five-car train sets.

    Quick entry and exit

    Riders will be able to board the Metro using electronic swipe cards that may be filled via the internet, mobile phone or in person at Metro ticket offices.

    Ramadan Abdullah, RTA’s Director of Rail Operations, earlier said that the Metro will offer two contactless cards dubbed the Mifare Desfire and the Ultralight.

    Under a unified fare system, card bearers will be able to use their electronic pass in all RTA public transport systems from buses and taxis to the Al Sufouh tram system on Palm Jumeirah.

    By Derek Baldwin, Senior Reporter, www.xpress4me.com,Published: April 02, 2009, 11:24