By Samia Badih, Staff Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: While the Metro has created an easy commute for thousands of Dubai residents, it’s also meant good business for many establishments near the stations.
Malls near the stations have witnessed an increase in customer traffic since the train line’s opening.
“The impact has been very positive,” said Fouad Sharaf, Vice President, Mall of the Emirates.
Mall of the Emirates,which has a bridge that connects it directly to the Metro station, received about 10 per cent of its daily visitors through the Metro, he said.
On weekdays the total number of visitors to the mall was around 70,000 to 80,000 a day while on weekends that number went up to an average of 100,000 a day, Sharaf said. “So we’re talking about an average of 8,000 to 10,000 [visitors] on a daily basis through the Metro [platform],” he said.
Sharaf said that new shops including a money exchange, electronics and ice cream stores, had been opened at the Mall’s metro entrance, to cater to customers arriving by train.
Because many visitors tend to ride the Metro, the mall selected shops for that location that were suitable for tourists, he said.
Daniel Mathew, General Manager of Rose Rayhaan by Rotana which is a few metres away from the Financial Centre Metro station told Gulf News that the Metro had become an attraction for hotel guests.
“The majority of them [the hotel guests] are not UAE residents and they need to use public transportation for their daily activities,” he said. It had also been a matter of convenience.
“The Metro also takes them directly to the shopping centres, main attractions as well as the airport,” he said.
Mathew said that many travellers from the GCC and the Middle East region were keen to experience the Metro at least once when they were in Dubai. Once they rode the Metro once, they started riding it more often, he said.
When it came to property, Matthew Green, Associate Director of Research for the UAE at CB Richard Ellis, told Gulf News that some tenants were starting to consider the location of the Metro station when apartment hunting.
“At this stage, it’s still marginal,” he said. “It’s very difficult to tell at the moment — maybe a five or 10 per cent [increase] if you’re close, but at the moment we still don’t know.”
However, “it is something that will develop over time as more and more start to use it” he said.
One of the reasons was because the Red Line, the line which was open now, moved along Shaikh Zayed Road. So the area it affected was pretty small, Green said.
The Metro would affect property values in the more densely populated areas. “We need to see more urbanisation and the other line opening for it to have a greater impact,” he said.
Given the weather conditions, “if you’re a couple of a hundred yards from the metro and you have a car you’re not likely to use it,” he said.