UAE. Dubai Metro was launched as planned on Wednesday night, marking a historical day for the city. The opening of the 52km Dubai Metro Red Line, which was broadcast live on television, began with a reception attended by hundreds at the Mall of the Emirates Galleria.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai punched in the first ticket exactly at 9pm, 9 minutes and 9 seconds, marking the official inauguration of the first metro system in the Gulf region.
Sheikh Mohammed along with VIPs and members of the media boarded the train which left the station at 9.11pm.
The Metro project has gone through a massive 50%-55% changes in terms of its design and new stations and facilities since its inception to cope with the growing needs of the city.
The cost of the Red and Green Lines has risen from the original budget ofAED15.5 billion to more than AED28 (US$7.6 billion) as a result of additions and extensions to the project
It is expected to generate revenues in excess of AED17 billion (US$4.63 billion) over the next 10 years, the chairman of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Mattar al-Tayer said. The income will come from fares, advertising, retail rents and station naming.
The metro was launched with 10 stations operational out of 29. All 29 stations on the metros 52 km Red Line were initially meant to open on 9 September, but delays meant only a third were ready in time with the rest coming online before February next year.
Al Tayer said the Red Line had been built in just 49 months. The other 19 stations which will not be opened until later including ones at Jebel Ali and the Dubai Mall are 90% complete. Sheikh Mohammed said the new system, the first in the country, would help the UAE stand on par with other countries.
He also used it as an example of the financial resiliance of the emirate, in the wake of last years economic downturn.
We have postponed some of the projects that were still on paper, but we ordered that those in operation be completed, and Dubai Metro is a concrete proof of that, said Sheikh Mohammed.