Dubai Metro reveals keenly awaited fares

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    Passengers travelling on Dubai’s Metro will have to fork out 6.50 dirhams ($1.8) for a single journey within five zones of the system, the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said on Monday, putting an end to months of speculation over fares.

    The Dubai Metro’s 52-km red line, running from Jebel Ali to Rashidiya, is scheduled to open on September 9 while the green line is due to come on line in March 2010.

    Further expansions remain under consideration, said Mattar al-Tayer, chairman of the RTA.

    “Any additional services are being considered,” he said at the launch of the new fare structure. “We will need to see what the demand is, before creating any other lines.”

    The first phase of the 15 billion-dirham Dubai Metro was running “billions of dirhams” over budget, Tayer told newswire Zawya Dow Jones, but he added that the RTA hoped to recoup up to half of its cost by 2014.

    “The cost has gone up for so many reasons,” he said.

    “We’re still calculating and negotiating with the contractor on the final amount so I can’t give you an exact figure, but its some billions of dirhams over the original AED15 billion,” but he said it was less than double the original budget.

    “We hope to be able to cover 45-50 percent of our investment in about five years time. This is standard,” he said. “Making profit, though, is another story.”

    He said a single fare for travel between two zones will be 4.50 dirhams and for three or more zones will cost 6.50 dirhams. A single journey of less than 3 km will cost 2 dirhams, while a one-way ticket within a single zone will cost 2.50 dirhams.

    Dubai’s metro will be split into five zones with park and ride facilities available free of charge to motorists going on to use public transport, officials said at a press conference on Monday.

    The metro fares will also replace existing fares on Dubai buses and river buses, said Tayer.

    “These fares are for all forms of public transport in Dubai,” he said. “Tickets will allow people to travel on one ticket across various forms of transport.”

    The cost of taking the metro in Dubai compares well to single-ticket costs in other cities around the world, such as 1.60 euros (8 dirhams) for the Paris Metro and 4 pounds (24 dirhams) for an adult single-zone ticket on the London Underground.

    “The only place in the world to offer cheaper fares is Tehran,” Tayer said.

    The $4.4-billion metro network will cover about 75 kilometres and carry about 200 million passengers per year. The two lines are part of plans for a 320-kilometre metro network to be completed by 2020.

    By Peter Harrison, www.business.maktoob.com

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