By Sean Davidson www.business24-7.ae
Nearly three million passengers have used the Dubai Metro in its first two months at an average of 57,000 trips per day, about 40 per cent higher than the authority’s pre-launch estimate, the Roads and Transport Authority said yesterday.
The authority has also sold about 1.2 million Nol cards to date, of which 900,000 are multiple-use silver cards. The premium class Gold cards and one-time use Red tickets made for the balance.
A personalised Nol card, called the Blue card, will be made available by the end of this month. “We have hit three million passengers on the Metro, which is fantastic,” said Peyman Parham, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications, RTA.
“The daily number has been lower on week days and higher on weekends, averaging at about 57,000 per day. But there were a few days when it went to 90,000 to 100,000. The total number is 40 per cent higher than we expected,” he said.
On upcoming services, Parham said: “We will soon have services for senior citizens and students, which will launch in the first half of 2010. The senior citizen population size is small but we want to honour them. Chances are we won’t charge them. We are seeing feasibility at this point, but that will be a great gesture and looks likely. For students we have to cut price. We don’t know by how much at this moment, but it should be more than 30 per cent.”
Parham said 20 per cent of Metro commuters were using the service to get to work or malls, which the authority found encouraging.
“We have 20 per cent using it to go back and forth to work and office. The rest are using it for fun.”
At present, only 10 of the planned 29 stations on the Metro’s Red Line are functional and the RTA will have the 19 operational by February 2010, Parham said. However, the RTA was still undecided on whether to open stations in a phased manner from this month until February, or launch all in February.
“We will open all stations on the Red Line by February 2010. We still do not know if we will do it in phases or in one go. The reason is some of the properties and projects around a few stations are still not completed. Also there are system complexities. If we do it all at one time we won’t have to deal with multiple learning curves. We are still studying this,” he said.
RTA expects passenger numbers on the Red Line to reach 100,000 per day once it is fully operational and has pegged stations at Jebel Ali, Downtown Dubai and World Trade Centre to drive this number.
New buses required to ply feeder routes have been delivered and tested, he said.
Parham said the Green Line, which runs through the densely populated area of older Dubai and its 18 stations, was on course for a June 2010 launch.