Metro popularity sees surge

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By MATOVU A. TWAHA  www.gulftoday.ae

Passengers who have been using the Dubai Metro daily for their day-to-day activities, have called on the transportation authorities to increase train frequencies so as to keep a check on the burgeoning crowds aboard.

Despite the deployment of between 17 and 22 trains — depending on the off peak and peak hours — on the Red Line, passengers find themselves crammed into trains.

“My appeal to the authorities is to increase the frequency,” said Hassan A, adding that “for many days I have not had a chance to enjoy a seat.”

Hassan plies daily between Khaled Bin Al Waleed Station to Noor Islamic Bank.  He told The Gulf Today that his time is “awkward” — mornings and evenings.

Isabella G, shares Hassan’s plight. “I’m used to standing. I thought that with the opening of more stations, more trains were to be deployed and the congestion on trains would be reduced. They’re [the Metro is] very popular.”

The frequency of trains presently is eight minutes from 6am to 4pm and six minutes after 4pm until late night, while the halting period at stations has been of late reduced from 30 to 20 seconds.”

An insider at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said that if they increase the frequencies any further, they may jeopardise safety, “which is the hallmark of our Metro service.”

The RTA contends that many people have abandoned their cars for the Metro, and that they’re hopeful to realise their target of having 30 per cent of Dubai’s population using public transport by 2020, of which 17 per cent will be moved by the Metro and 13 per cent shared among other modes: marine, ferry, Abra, water and land taxis.

The director of Rail Operation, RTA Rail Agency Ramadan Abdullah recently hinted that the number of Metro riders is in the region of 150,000 passengers per day on an average “and we anticipate a surge in the number by the end of 2010.”

During the Nov.1 Public Transport Day offering, the public had a free ride on all public transit modes including the Metro, public buses and the water bus for 24 hours.

“The Metro lifted 206,000 passengers compared to 140,000 passengers it carries on normal days. All these are positive indicators that we’re moving into the right direction of realising our target,” said Ramadan. At a rate of 140,000 passengers per day, this makes it about 4,020,000 per month.

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