Metro’s growth reliant on an upturn


By Eugene Harnan

DUBAI // The future of Dubai’s planned new Metro lines is closely linked to the fate of suspended construction projects, transport officials said yesterday.

Dubai metro
Dubai metro

The slowdown in construction may mean delays in implementing the city’s transport master plan because the municipality does not want to build new spurs into areas with few potential riders.

“The master plan was supposed to be ready for the first quarter of 2010, but, unfortunately, we still need more information about the plans of the developers all over Dubai,” said Abdul al Hassan, director of planning and development at the Roads and Transport Authority’s rail agency.

The Blue and Purple lines, for example, have been put on hold, as have extensions of the Red Line to the Abu Dhabi border and a lengthening of the Green Line to International City.

Still scheduled for completion are the Dh28 billion (US$7.6bn) Red and Green lines and a tram line linking Dubai Marina, Media City and parts of Jumeirah to the 76km Metro system.

The Green Line is expected to be operational next year, and the tram line is expected to open in 2012.

Officials also plan to revisit how the lines are paid for.

The Red and Green lines are financed by the Dubai Government, but officials say public-private partnerships are now being considered.

Mr al Hassan said that when the Red Line was announced, private investors shied away from the venture because it was the first of its kind in the region.

But using its current success as a benchmark, he said, future lines may seem attractive to private companies.

Since the opening of 10 of the Red Line’s 29 stations last month, most of its passengers have been trying out the system because of its novelty, officials said. They said that the Metro must now attract more daily riders.