By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Three more stations will be opened on Saturday, bringing the total number of operational stations to 21 out of the total 29 on the Red Line of the Dubai Metro System.
The new stations include: World Trade Centre Station, GGICO Station (Al Garhoud) and Noor Islamic Bank Station (Al Quoz).
“The remaining eight stations on 76km long Red Line will open gradually in coming months by the end of this year,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
The GGICO Station will serve a large number of schools in Al Garhoud area in addition to commercial establishment and residents.
The World Trade Centre Station will be mainly used by visitors to the Dubai World Trade Centre throughout the year in addition to a number of hotels, office and residential towers on Shaikh Zayed Road. It will also provide easy access to visitors to the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center or Dubai Airport Expo Centre in addition to serving a huge residential community in Satwa
Noor Islamic Bank Station earlier known as Al Quoz Sation on Shaikh Zayed Road is expected to be one of the most popular stations due to high density of industrial, commercial activities in the area.
The station will also serve residents of posh localities in Jumeirah and Al Safa.
Al Tayer said that 14 feeder buses will be deployed to link the new Metro stations with the surrounding areas. Bus services will have a frequency of 13 to 20 minutes.
The 14 buses bring the total number of feeder buses serving the stations to 152.
Since its launch last year till the end of April, the buses have served 4.5 million passengers.
RTA’s Al Tayer said: “Serco Co, which is responsible for the Dubai Metro operation, has also finalised all trial technical testing of the Metro operations.”
Meanwhile, Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Operations at the RTA’s Rail Agency said the number of trains serving the 21 stations have already been increased to 20.
“The trains are already running with frequency of six minutes during peak hours and eight minutes frequency during off-peak time,” he added.
Abdullah said the number of passengers have increased drastically with the opening of seven stations on April 30.
“We carried more than 118,000 passengers on Thursday, May 6 and it was the highest number of passengers on the trains in a single day,” he said, adding that the RTA expects to number to further grow to at least 140,000 passengers per day with the opening of the three more stations.
Answering a question about the possibility of increasing the train service operating hours of trains, Abdullah said that they are studying the options of extending train hours especially during weekends — Thursdays and Fridays.
He said operating the trains on Friday mornings is also under consideration.
“But, we will probably extend the timings only after opening all the stations on the Red Line because we have to study the demand and viability of operating trains for longer hours,” he said.
Trains currently operate from 6am to 11pm from Saturday to Thursday while the operational hours are from 2pm to midnight on Fridays.