More Dubai metro stations to open


By Eugene Harnan

DUBAI // Seven of the remaining 18 incomplete Metro stations will be finished by April 25, according to the Roads and Transport Authority.

10vConstruction work will be complete on all stations on the Red Line, which first opened in October, but only Emirates station, Airport Terminal 1 station, GGICO station, Al Karama station, World Trade Centre station, Marina station, and Ibn Battuta station will be ready to accept passengers.

Meanwhile, the completion of the Green Line has been pushed back until August next year, the RTA said in a statement.

Mattar Al Tayer, the chairman of the board and executive director of the RTA, said the stations not due to open in April would become operational in “the following months of 2010”. The Red Line launched with 10 stations last September.

He said the seven stations to open in April had been chosen by the high number of surrounding residents, commercial activities, nearby government services, and how the stations integrate with a wider public transport network.

Mr Al Tayer also said alterations to the Metro network and their associated costs would be funded from the RTA’s budget allocation from the Government of Dubai.

Changes included the Green Line’s 5km extension from Dubai Healthcare City to al Jaddaf and the addition of extra stations such as that at Mall of the Emirates, not included in the original blueprint.

“The RTA will provide the biggest portion of cash injections out of its budget … to cover the cost of the additional works on the Red and Green Lines, add new stations to meet the needs of property development projects, add a depot to accommodate the resultant increase in the capacity, and increase the number of footbridges linking with the Metro stations to enable the public use the Metro easily.

The remaining portion of additional works’ cost will be funded through the project contractor” said Mr al Tayer.

The cost of the Red and Green lines will have risen from Dh15.5 billion to an estimated Dh28bn by the time the two tracks are complete next year.

Changes include the Green Line’s 5km extension from Dubai Healthcare City to al Jaddaf and the addition of extra stations such as the Red Line’s Mall of the Emirates station.

A senior engineer close to the Red Line’s construction, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one member of the Japanese-led consortium constructing the lines stopped work for four weeks in January.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation, Obayashi Corporation, Kajima Corporation and Turkish firm Yapı Merkezi make up the consortium.

“Engineers from Obayashi stopped working on January 14 so all construction stopped,” said the engineer.

Mr al Tayer also said the completion date for the 22.5 km Green Line had been delayed.

The Green Line, with 18 stations is now scheduled to open in August 2011.

The Green Line runs around Dubai Creek through Deira and Bur Dubai and will allow commuters to change between the Red and Green Line at two connecting stations, Union Square and Khalid bin al Waleed station.

Sunil Amit, 34, an accountant from India who lives in Karama said it might help alleviate the congested parking around his building. “A lot of people come here to do business or go shopping who might park somewhere else and take the metro down,” he said.

Mr Amit said he might use the Metro to visit friends who live in Marina. “Maybe at the weekends I’ll use it but during the week I need my car,” he said.

Ashish Patel, 25, who works in Karama, said the opening of the station would bring more business.

“It will bring in more people I think. I have a lot of customers who say they either can’t find parking or don’t know their way around Karama. We have been waiting for the station to open to help this,” said the shop assistant.