Dubai ruler hails 'smooth' metro launch

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    By Andy Sambidge   www.arabianbusiness.com

    Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Thursday hailed the “smooth and successful” launch of the new metro system.

    METRO LAUNCH: Sheikh Mohammed photographed at Al Rashidiya Station on Wednesday night. (ITP Images)
    METRO LAUNCH: Sheikh Mohammed photographed at Al Rashidiya Station on Wednesday night. (ITP Images)

    As thousands of people in the emirate took to the trains for the first time, Sheikh Mohammed used his popular Twitter website page to convey his congratulations to the team at the Roads and Transport Authority, responsible for the opening of the $7.6bn project.

    A message posted at 4.20pm UAE time on Thursday read: “Well done to the RTA team for a smooth and successful launch”.

    He added: “It was great to see all the excitement and jubilation at the launch of the Dubai Metro yesterday (Wednesday) evening.”

    Sheikh Mohammed pushed the button at nine minutes past 9pm to officially open the metro system at a ceremony at the Mall of the Emirates Station before joining other VIPs on the first journey to Al Rashidiya Station.

    On Thursday, the rail system opened to the general public and, despite some minor hiccups, has been warmly welcomed by people in Dubai.

    One Metro train broke down at midday due to some ‘technical difficulties’, the Roads and Transport Agency said earlier.

    The train travelling from Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to Mall of the Emirates just before midday slowed down and briefly stopped on the line before continuing its journey, a spokesman for the RTA said, adding that the problem has now been resolved.

    “There were some technical difficulties on a train between two stations,” said an RTA spokesman.

    “There was a bit of a slowdown and it stopped for a bit of time, but everything is on track now. It’s the first day and globally there is no project of this magnitude,” the spokesman added.

    The project has taken four years to complete but it has risen in costs by an estimated 75 percent.