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Sat 19 Sep 2009 04:00 AM

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All systems go

The launch of the Dubai Metro could herald a new era for the city as people find a new way to move around.

All systems go
On board the first trip with Dubai Metro.

The launch of the Dubai Metro could herald a new era for the city as people find a new way to move around.

The Dubai Metro was officially opened by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, on 09/09/09.

“There were great hands that worked and built; minds that created and planned and a will of determination and support that made this possible...the Metro shows Dubai’s ability of progress and renewal itself and we are pleased to be pioneers in our region,” said RTA chairman Mattar Al Tayer.

Sheikh Mohammed pushed the button at nine minutes past 9pm to officially open the metro system at a ceremony at the Mall of the Emirates Station before joining other VIPs on the first journey to Rashidiya Station.

“We love challenges, and we like to rise to challenges, and we like to beat challenges,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

His Highness also made use of new media in order to spread praise about the success of the Metro, sending a message via micro-blogging service Twitter: “Well done to the RTA team for a smooth and successful launch”. He also added “It was great to see all the excitement and jubilation at the launch of the Dubai Metro yesterday (launch day) evening.”

Mattar Al Tayer also confirmed at the opening of the launch that the UAE was investigating the possibility of an inter-emirate metro.

When asked if the Dubai Metro would link up the cities of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Al Tayer said that it was a federal issue that was being planned.

“Transport between the emirates is a federal issue. A separate authority has been set up to look into ways of connecting all the emirates. We already have an inter-city bus network along with a taxi service. The metro between the emirates could be of another type in terms of technology, and could be of a higher speed,” he revealed.

He also stressed that the Dubai Metro has been built to serve Dubai as a community and has focused on the city of Dubai.

One of the main reasons the RTA decided to build the Dubai Metro, was to tackle traffic problems within the city, which was mainly between the emirates of Sharjah and Dubai.

“We have enough parking spaces on both borders of Dubai,” Al Tayer said. “We have a 3000-space parking lot at the Nakheel Harbour station so that people coming in from Abu Dhabi can park their cars and use Dubai Metro to visit the city. Similarly, we have 8700 parking spaces on the Sharjah side so this should reduce traffic within the city tremendously.”

According to him the metro is expected to take 17% of traffic off the roads in Dubai, while the bus system will take 13%.

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