Hundreds stranded after Metro services disrupted – report

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    By Neeraj Gangal   www.arabianbusiness.com

    Hundreds of people were left stranded by a breakdown of services on the Dubai Metro yesterday, it was reported on Saturday.

    ON TRACK: Ten Metro stations have opened out of 29. The rest are due to be completed by Feb next year.
    ON TRACK: Ten Metro stations have opened out of 29. The rest are due to be completed by Feb next year.

    The train services ran intermittently for close to four hours on Friday night, between 5 and 9pm, UAE daily Gulf News reported.

    This left passengers disrupted, many of whom were stuck on trains.

    Some of the passengers who found themselves stuck on the train at Iftar time ended their fast together by sharing their groceries, Gulf News added.

    According to the Khaleej Times daily, RTA spokesman Peyman Younes Parham said that the delays were caused when some passengers pushed emergency buttons, resulting in trains automatically stopping at the nearest station.

    However, it was not immediately clear why the emergency buttons had been pushed, the daily added.

    The National reported that the Metro’s services on Friday were due to be extended past the official closing time of midnight to 2am, to enable passengers to return home.

    Unaware that the Metro trains would not be operating till 2pm on Fridays, commuters thronged a lot of stations.

    RTA officials estimated that close to 30,000 passengers descended on the Metro stations in its first two hours of operation on Friday.

    According to media reports, the Metro officials had to close the platform doors at the Al Rashidiya station for some time in order to give a leeway to embarking and disembarking passengers.

    The worst-affected station was 
Mall of the Emirates where up to 2,000 people had turned up at one time and 
tried to board the train heading to Rashidiya station, the Khaleej Times daily reported.

    But this is not the first time that the Metro has seen disruptions.

    Earlier on Thursday, a 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 Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) had confirmed to Arabian Business.

    The problem had 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 $7.6bn transport system was officially opened on Wednesday by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, but commuters were made to wait until Thursday to use the service, which has opened on schedule but over budget.

    Labourers and engineers have been working around the clock to ensure the project was completed on time.

    However, only ten stations have opened out of 29. The rest are due to be completed by February next year.

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

    This week the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said that costs will overrun to around $7.6bn.

    With nearly 75 km of magnetic track, it is the largest automated driverless train system in the world.

    The Red Line, which opened on Thursday is 52.1km, and the Green Line, 17.6km in length, is currently under construction and is due for completion in a year.

    On the Red Line there will be 24 elevated stations, four underground, and one at street level.

    Up to 11,000 passengers are expected to use the Metro in peak times every hour, with nearly 75,000 predicted to use it daily.

    Carriages are divided into three classes: Golden (VIP), Women and Children and Silver (economy). Trains have air conditioning and wi-fi access.