Metro Green Line from August

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By Shafaat Ahmed  www.khaleejtimes.com

Ninety per cent of the work on the Green Line of Dubai Metro has been completed and the second line of the rail network is on schedule to begin its journey from August, a senior RTA official said.

Dubai Metro
Dubai Metro

At the moment, the work on the Green Line is going according to the plan, said Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Operations at RTA’s Rail Agency told Khaleej Times.

He said the tracks have been ready since long and the 20 stations, which have been in the final stages of completion for the last three months, are almost ready, except for minor details that are being taken care of.

“The major activities currently in progress are testing and commissioning, which are scheduled to finish by the first half of this year,” Ramadan added, insisting that there is no doubt whatsoever about the beginning of operations on schedule.

The trial runs have been under way for some time now and according to the RTA, different aspects of metro operations are being sorted out through daily runs.

The live trials are being conducted on a daily basis in real-life scenarios and emergency preparedness is being checked.

“We simulate different real-life situations and see how the system works under varying circumstances. So far, we have made good progress and we are almost ready to start the operations,” said another senior official.

Asked about the proposed extension plan of the Green Line, Ramadan said the Rail Agency is carrying out a comprehensive study to see the feasibility of extension and the potential for the growth of metro on the proposed route.

“We are looking at various parameters in the feasibility study — the trend of urban development in the area of the study, the growth of population in the surroundings, the landmarks and businesses that could be targeted etc. We are looking at a cluster of communities that serve around 400,000 residents and we would be happy if at least a quarter of this number is ready to take the metro,” said Ramadan.

The study for the extension from Jaddaf to Academic City, doubling the total length of the 22km line, would be ready by the last quarter of this year.

The RTA is also considering the revision of Dubai’s Rail Master Plan which includes future rail lines — Blue and Purple. “Studies are being conducted about the future lines as well as the technology options and implementation strategies based on the development trends in Dubai.”

With the Red Line proving to be a great success, touching an average of 160,000 daily commuters in just 18 months of operations, the 22km route that cuts through the heart of the city, is expected to change the public transport scene completely in the emirate.

First Jebel Ali station to open in March

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is planning to open the Jebel Ali Industrial Station in early March, ending the wait for the metro operations from this busy industrial area.The RTA has conducted a feasibility study and the station, which would mostly cater to thousands of workers from the Jebel Ali Freezone Area (Jafza), has received overwhelming response.

Khaleej Times had reported last year the plight of thousands of workers who face great hardship in travelling around 50km between their residences and workplaces daily. The workers, who number in thousands, are keenly awaiting the opening of the metro stations in Jebel Ali in the hope that it would solve their transport woes.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Operations at RTA’s Rail Agency, said that the Jebel Ali Industrial Station has the potential of adding around 30,000 to 40,000 commuters daily to metro. “The metro has sufficient capacity to handle increasing demand. We can take the Free Transport Day as an example, when around 205,000 people used the metro on a single day,” said Ramadan.

One of the ways to fulfil the growing demand is by increasing the frequency, which the RTA has been successfully doing with the opening of every new station. The metro currently runs at peak-time frequency of a train every 4-5 minutes and Ramadan hinted that in the event of greater demand, this could further go down.  The launch of concessionary fare system for special sections of the society — especially students — is also likely to drive the demand further. The Dubai Metro moved about 38.888 million passengers in 2010, well above its expected target of 35 million passengers.

shafaat@khaleejtimes.com