Residents believe the metro is a positive social and environmental addition in a city that wants to be recognised for modern thinking.
Coastweek — Kenyans living and working in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates welcomed the operations of the world’s longest driverless train system, the Dubai Metro that was officially launched on 9th September, writes William Faria.
Exactly at 9.09 pm and nine seconds on the dot on 9th September Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and also the Ruler of Dubai officially flagged off the new rail system marking a memorable day in the history of the Arab world.
The Dubai Metro has more than 70km (43 miles) of track and is the first urban train network in the Middle East.
At $7.6bn, it is reported to cost almost twice the original estimate.
Dubai beat all odds despite the global recession, thus showing that it is still economically stable, unlike other countries globally.
A cross-section of Kenyans in Dubai were interviewed by Coastweek and had this to say: Regina Mueni, Abu Dhabi;
“Well, though I stay in Abu Dhabi am over excited about this new transport system. When I come to Dubai next, I intend to use the metro services more than other public transport, as one cannot rely on buses or taxis.
“I congratulate the government and Ruler of Dubai for this excellent gift to the people of UAE.”
Brian Odhiambo, Dubai;
“Am happy with this new development in the Middle East, though I will not be using the metro services, as my place of work is just adjacent to where I stay, I do welcome the network and congratulate Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and HH Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum.”
Mary Aji, Dubai;
“A metropolitan without a Metro, is like food without salt!
“I come from Delhi and I have seen the drastic change in Delhi since the metro was launched.
“The metro will be there for every ones convenience, its good and will surely save time, spent otherwise stuck in traffic. Foremost on my list of “things to do” post-metro, is spending time with my family – specially my son!”
Cruvans Dsilva, Abu Dhabi;
“I came all the way from Abu Dhabi to witness the inauguration of this wonderful add-on to Dubai Infrastructure.
“This first ever, driverless train in the GCC has made expatriate community residing in the UAE proud.
“We hope and wish, Insha Allah soon we have a fast running network all over the UAE and I look forward for the metro to be extended to the Capital.”
Amjad Daniel Masih – Shajah;
“I have anxiously waited for the day the Dubai Metro will start and now am overjoyed, as I intend to be among the first batch to board the train this morning.
“I salute HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai for this wonderful gift to the commuters, the first ever in the Arab world.”
Kenya’s Ambassador to the UAE, HE Mohammed Gello on behalf of the Government of Kenya congratulated the leaders of UAE for setting an exemplary decision in the public transport industry.
The Red line was the first to be opened, with only 10 of the 29 stations operational at the launch. The line runs from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali, with a large section running parallel with the busy eight-lane Sheikh Zayed Highway.
Important stations on the red line include Airport Terminals 1 and 3; Deira City Centre – for shopping, Emirates Towers and Financial Centre; Burj Dubai – the world’s tallest building and Dubai Mall – boasting the world’s largest shopping centre; Mall of the Emirates – for more shopping or skiing and Dubai Marina – home to many of Dubai’s expatriate community, and just a few minutes from Palm Jumeirah – reported to be the 8th wonder of the world!
The RTA has built futuristic looking stations and introduced reasonably low travel tariffs. There are also women-only carriages, plus ‘luxury leather seating’ for VIP’s who would like to pay extra for them.
The trains can reach speeds of 110kma and the network has been installed with more than 3,000 CCTV cameras to monitor trains and stations.
RTA has reported that more than one hundred thousand passengers used the metro during the first two days of opening, which equates to approximately 10% of the Dubai population. RTA has predicted 200 million passenger journeys on the metro each year.
Many residents believe the metro is a positive social and environmental addition in a city that wants to be recognised for modern thinking.
Travel by the Dubai Metro is through the use of a NOL card available from RTA, petrol stations and shopping supermarkets across Dubai.