Rail agency cuts back on costs, silent on decrease in metro fare

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By Matovu A. Twaha  gulftoday.ae

THE Dubai Metro operating company, Serco is among the entities that have been asked to revise on the number of employees, as part of initiatives taken to reduce costs.

Dubai metroBy the end of 2010, over Dhs160m has been saved, revealed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Rail Agency Adnan Al Hammadi.

While the agency cuts costs, authorities are silent as to whether metro fares will also go down.

“As a team, we rolled out as much as 15 different initiatives last year, all being an integral part of RTA higher policy aimed at figuring out solutions for reducing costs,” said Al Hammadi.

“These initiatives have been put forward upon identification of key elements relating to services of operational, capital and projects expenditure, which is the baseline of the operational plan aimed to slash costs and hike revenues.”

He said the majority of initiatives undertaken have been carried out in a phased manner over the year.

“There were some procedures taken in regards to the contract made with the Dubai Metro operator Serco Co. in terms of reducing the number of employees, number of daily trains in operation, working hours, and maintenance processes among other steps taken on the Red Line, resulting in savings of about Dhs7.5m.”

“As for the Green Line, which will be in operation in August 2011, the same initiative is being applied, contributing to savings estimated at Dhs47m.”

RTA employees number to 4,000, but the total number of metro employees has not been specified. Serco entered into an agreement to have 583 Emiratis employed within five years, which would be a representation of between 30-50 per cent.

On cost reduction, the Al Qusais Park-and-Ride facilities and associated installations saw the Rail Agency registering huge financial savings of Dhs23m.

The savings were brought about through review of the technical designs of the project and supervision of the work progress on site with administrative and consultant services also being reduced.

A further Dhs30m was saved on the same project after modifications were made to the surveillance cameras, bus waiting lounges and footbridges linking to the car park.

The building maintenance and consultancy saw savings hit Dhs24m. Similarly, maintenance of the metro and stations saw the agency saving Dhs25m.

“We coordinated with Dubai Police particularly in compensation for the properties through realigning the route of the rail track to pass through less expensive areas compared to others,” said Al Hammadi “This saw costs drop by Dhs22m alongside the reviewing of the Green Line extension, which also resulted in Dhs17m savings.”