By Shafaat Ahmed www.khaleejtimes.com
Dubai Metro will serve an additional 13,000-14,000 people daily from May 15 as three more stations open at prime locations – two on Shaikh Zayed Road and one in Al Garhoud.
The three stations – Noor Islamic (Al Quoz), Dubai World Trade Centre and GGICO – will join the 18 stations that currently operate on the Red Line, taking the total tally of operational stations to 21.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is planning to open the remaining eight stations on the Red Line in a phased manner before the end of 2010.
“We open stations depending on the development around them. Each of the three new stations are located in key areas and are expected to serve a large number of people,” said Ramadan Mohammed Abdullah, Director of Rail Operations at RTA.
He added that opening of more stations on the Red Line would depend on the pace of development around them. “We study the response of commuters after the opening of each station. We will wait and see how each of the new stations performs. So far, we are satisfied with the performance of the existing stations, but we don’t want to rush,” he said.
Metro’s daily ridership crossed 100,000 within days of the opening of seven stations on April 30 and it reached 118,000 within a week. The RTA expects the ridership to reach 140,000 soon.
It might just be early days for Dubai Metro, but when compared to other big city metro networks, Dubai Metro has achieved greater rider targets. “Dubai Metro achieved 80 per cent of the ridership target within first six months while other networks like the one in Copenhagen and Singapore achieved less than 50 per cent in the same period,” informed Ramadan.
The RTA added 11 new trains last month to the previous 10 and reduced the average waiting time at a station to 30 seconds and Ramadan feels the current fleet has the capacity to serve the new stations and additional number of commuters.
“We actually made a very smart move. Before the new stations opened, we increased the capacity to meet the future demands. We added more trains, reduced the waiting time and headway. So Dubai Metro, right now, has the capacity to handle additional pressure,” added Ramadan.
Before the opening of seven stations on April 30 the headway time was reduced to six minutes during peak hours and eight minutes during off peak hours, and according to RTA it will remain almost the same even with three more stops.
“The increase in waiting time will be negligible, if there is any. We have reduced it to minimum already. It will differ from station to station but on an average it will be 30 to 40 seconds and it can’t be reduced further for safety reasons,” he said.
As many as two new feeder bus routes will be added to the existing network, while two others will be extended to serve the new stations. A total of 14 buses will ply on these routes. Noor Islamic station (Al Quoz) will have two bus routes. F-15 will run from the station to Al Quoz Industrial Area 1&2, while F-25A will run from the station Al Quoz Industrial Area 3&4. Existing route F-6 will be extended to GGICO station at Garhoud and F11 will be extended to Dubai World Trade Centre station.
Key areas to be covered
As the three new metro stations open today, Khaleej Times gives you a quick preview of the stations and its potential users
Noor Islamic station (Al Quoz)
Noor Islamic will be the first of three stations to open on the stretch between Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates on Sheikh Zayed Road. Considering the population and development around Noor Islamic, it is one of the major stations to open this year. With a capacity to handle 415 passengers at time, the string of Automobile showrooms that line up in the vicinity, along with the offices, warehouses and the factories would all be well-served. Not to forget the umpteen labour camps with in the 1.5km radius of the station and the vast residential district of Umm Sequim and Jumeirah on the other side of the highway. Search for landmarks around the station and you have many. Khaleej Times offices and National Cements factory are just a stone throw away.
Dubai World Trade Centre station
No marks for guessing the potential users of this station! DWTC, Dubai Convention and Exhibition Centre, Fairmont Hotel, the list of landmarks around the station could be as tall as the towers surrounding it. However, the top draw for the station is DWTC and the convention centre, which together entertain nearly 1.5 million visitors annually. The station is also the closest for the residents of Satwa and Zabeel.
GGICO station (Al Garhoud)
Just a few paces down the line from the Garhoud Bridge and the first station to open on the Dubai Sharjah highway, GGICO hopes to attract big numbers. On one side it faces the lush green Dubai Golf and Yacht Club, while on the other side it has an impressive line up of showrooms, schools and other institutions. Emirates Aviation college could be one of the top draws along with the Dubai Aviation Club and Tennis stadium, which fall with in the 1.5km radius of the station. There is also a sizeable residential district that do well to use the station as their gateway.