Metro upgrades on the right track

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By Eugene Harnan  www.thenational.ae

DUBAI // After two-and-a-half years of operation, Metro officials are looking at ways to improve the Dh28 billion system.

Dubai commuters enjoy far greater freedom of movement thanks to the Metro. The rail service has also been responsible for reducing road traffic. Above, people ride the Metro's Green Line. Jaime Puebla / The National
Dubai commuters enjoy far greater freedom of movement thanks to the Metro. The rail service has also been responsible for reducing road traffic. Above, people ride the Metro's Green Line. Jaime Puebla / The National

Transport chiefs are considering opening both the Green and Red lines earlier on Fridays next year and setting up an out-of-hours shuttle to the airport, said Ahmad Al Hammadi, the chief executive of the Roads and Transport Authority’s rail agency.

“We have to collect all our operations and maintenance records and see how the system performs,” he said. “Once we get the records broken down we [will] know exactly how the system performs. Depending on the findings, we can add more services and add more hours.”

Commuters could see the changes take effect from next year.

The Metro runs daily from 6am until 1am except on Fridays, when the first train leaves Al Rashidiya Station at 1pm.

“It is a very sophisticated system,” Mr Al Hammadi said. “It requires a lot of attention. Everything we do has to go through a change management procedure to make sure everything is in place: the operations, maintenance and manpower required.”

More than 3,000 people are involved in the running of the 74.6-kilometre system.

The RTA opened the 22.5km Green Line in September 2011, two years after the inaugural Red Line opened.

“The Red Line was a very good exercise for the Green Line opening,” Mr Al Hammadi said. “Some of the staff who trained on the Red Line were transferred to the Green Line opening, offering their previous experience. It minimised the learning curve.”

When the Red Line opened, it recorded 1.2 million passengers a month with only 10 stations open. Now all 47 stations on both lines are open and the RTA has averaged 8.6m passengers a month.

The most successful destinations, he said, were the shopping malls.

One of the goals of the Metro was to encourage residents to use public transport to reduce road traffic. More info

 

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