Dubai Metro: From scratch to track

Arabian Business goes back in time and watches the Dubai Metro grow to become one of Dubai's most popular icons
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Arabian Business goes back in time and watches how the Metro grew from a few metal pillars to become one of Dubai's most popular icons. We also bring you 50 things you must know about the Dubai Metro. (Above) The Khalid Bin Al Walid metro station under construction. (Images source for gallery: ITP Images/Getty Images)
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How many stations are there on the Red Line? There are 29 stations on the Red Line, 24 elevated, 4 underground and 1 at grade (street level). (Above) The Khalid Bin Al Walid metro station under construction.
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What type of facilities are available at the stations? The stations on the Dubai Metro line will offer many facilities such as retail outlets and kiosks, such as coffee shops, boutiques, places to eat and tourist information. (Above) A metro station on Sheikh Zayed Road under construction.
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Are there any facilities for left luggage at the stations? There are no facilities for left luggage at the stations, there are however, on board temporary storage facilities which can be used while travelling between stations to your destination. (Above) The Khalid Bin Al Walid metro station under construction.
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Are the stations air-conditioned and will washrooms, toilets be provided? Yes all the stations and the trains are fully air-conditioned to a mean temperature. All stations will have washroom and toilet facilities for the public. (Above) The Deira City Centre metro station under construction.
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Will there be prayer rooms made available for the public? Due to the size of the stations, there are no provision for prayers made for the public. (Above) The Deira City Centre metro station under construction.
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Are there any special facilities to help the disabled passengers? For the visually impaired, there are tactile guide paths, Braille on TVMs; lifts and passenger equipment. For the mobility impaired, there are lifts and ramps. Wheelchair spaces are provided in every compartment. (Above) The Deira City Centre metro station under construction.
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Are there first aid and passenger care systems? Yes. Station staff are trained as first aiders and there are first aid rooms in stations. Our staff will work closely with ambulance and hospitals for passenger care service whenever necessary. (Above) The Deira City Centre metro station under construction.
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How many passengers per car and per train? How many are sitting and how many are standing? Design for 643 per 5-car train. Can carry up to 897 passengers at peak capacity and has structural design for up to 1,150 passengers. There are 142 seats per train. (Above) Construction workers give finishing touches to a metro station.
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How fast can the Dubai Metro trains go? The speed of the trains in automatic mode can run from 45-90 kph depending on the track section. Red Line: Average speed 42 km per hour. Green Line: Average speed 32 km per hour. (Above) A long shot of a metro station under construction.
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How many people did the Metro in its first year of operations? Dubai Metro has carried 30 million passengers during its first twelve months of operation. (Above) The Burj Khalifa/ Dubai Mall metro station under construction.
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How many classes of train service are there? What are the differences in the service between classes? Women & Children (special car for women & children; more space to allow strollers and bags); 12 seats & 3 flip up chairs. Gold (more spacious; higher level of privacy; luggage space, leather seating; 18 deluxe seats situated at the front of the train). Silver (standard; 25 to 27 seats).
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How long is each five car train?

Each of the first and last car measure 17.55m in length. Each of the middle 3 cars measure 16.8m in length. The total length of the train is 85.5m. (Above) The Burj Khalifa/ Dubai Mall metro station under construction.
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What are the special facilities that you will have inside the trains? Elderly, injured, special needs people and pregnant women will have the choice of priority seating. The compartments will be equipped with audio visual devices, passenger information display and public address in Arabic & English. Clear signage will show the route map of the metro and other directions for passengers. Closed circuit television in all trains will ensure a safe journey. There is also wireless internet coverage inside train. (Above) Test-run of the metro ahead of its launch on 09.09.09.
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Who built the Dubai Metro? The first phase of the network (Red and Green Line) is being built by Dubai Rapid Link (DURL) Consortium which comprises Japanese companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation, Obayashi Corporation, Kajima Corporation and the Turkish company Yapi Merkezi. (Above) Test-run of the metro ahead of its launch on 09.09.09.
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Can the Metro reduce the traffic jam in Dubai? What is the time saving we can expect to bring to the travelling public? It will reduce traffic jams in Dubai, in particular Sheikh Zayed Road, Bur Dubai and Deira. Time saving: depends on the destinations of the passengers but it can be as high as 50 percent saving in journey time. (Above) Test-run of the metro ahead of its launch on 09.09.09.
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What is the role of Serco? Serco as the concessionaire is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the Red Line and Green Line of Dubai Metro for the first seven years and an option of a further five years.
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How does the Dubai Metro help save travelling time? The Metro runs on dedicated guide way; hence no traffic jam. It is designed with a high level of reliability and punctuality so passengers can plan their journey time.
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What is Serco’s experience in managing Metro/rail? Experience includes Dockland Light Rail, Copenhagen Metro, Mersey Rail in Liverpool, Manchester Metro link, Northern Rail in UK, Great Southern Rail.
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What does the RTA expect in terms of how much of the Metro capacity will be used? Depends on the time of the day - at peak hour it is expected that more than 50 percent of the capacity will be used initially. The utilisation will increase over time. A maximum of four people per sq m loading will be maintained. (Above) The metro tracks near the Mall of the Emirates station.
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Are you permitted to eat and drink on board the trains? No, eating and drinking on board a train is a byelaw offence. (Above) Artist's impression of the Metro ahead of its launch.
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What will happen when the capacity will be saturated? The planned network will be expanded when demand increases. Which stations have car parking facilities? Currently on the Red Line, car parking facilities areas are available at Rashidiya and Jumeirah Islands, both having 3,000 spaces each. There are only a few car parking spaces available at the other Metro stations. However, these stations have good integration with other forms of transport such as taxis, buses and water taxis.
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Is smoking allowed within the Metro facilities? Smoking is not allowed within the Metro facilities. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside the Metro carriages.
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Is there any plan to link with Sharjah or Abu Dhabi? The Integrated Transport Master Plan is being developed by RTA. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro station.
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What other lines besides Red & Green does the RTA hope to introduce? The Red Line would be extended from the Jebel Ali Free Zone to the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border. RTA is also studying options to extend the Red Line from Jebel Ali to the Jebel Ali Airport, which is under construction at the moment. The extension of the Green Line has been approved already, with the line extended to 4.9 km from the Healthcare City to Jaddaf. Initially, the Green Line was to be 17.6 km long. Similarly, the Purple and the Blue Lines would be catering to the commuters between the Dubai International Airport and the Jebel Ali Airport and the Emirates Road. A tram Line, Al Sofooh Line, has also been approved and will be a feeder to the Red Line. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside the Metro carriages.
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Why aren't pets allowed in stations and trains? For hygiene and safety reasons, pets are not allowed in the stations and trains. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro station.
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Will there be an expansion plan for the train fleet? The train fleet will increase over time to meet passenger demand and service standard. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro station.
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Does the Metro operate extra services for special events? The Metro takes into account special events when planning its services in advance and wherever possible the RTA will always endeavour to provide additional services to cope with passenger demand. Does the service get heavily overloaded during special festivities/special events - making it unsafe to travel on? Serco prepares special safety plans for events which will attract more passengers including crowd control measures, provision of additional trains, increase train frequency, and deployment of additional frontline and security staff. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro station.
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Will the frequency of the services increase in the future? The RTA will closely monitor customer travel patterns and will adjust the timetable/frequency accordingly if it becomes necessary.
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How frequent are the trains? The trains can operate every 3 minutes and 45 second during peak times. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro station.
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How long does the train take from Rashidiya to Jafza? 69 minutes (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro station.
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Why are there 3 peak services each day? The Metro operates 3 peak services to cater for passenger demand - 6.30-8.30am, 12.30-2pm and 5.30-9pm - this is when the system is at its busiest with commuters using the system to get to and from their place of business and for customers wishing to make use of the Metro at lunch time. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro carriage.
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How does Serco/RTA ensure that the trains run on time? The most sophisticated train control system is used to monitor and control train movement which will ensure punctuality. A state-of-the-art Operations Control Centre overseeing train movement by well trained controllers will also ensure train run on schedule. Redundant design and condition monitoring alarms for safety critical equipment will also be used as well as proactive preventive maintenance. (Above) A Metro official inspects the inside a metro carriage ahead of the official launch date.
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Does the service get heavily overloaded during special festivities/special events - making it unsafe to travel on? Serco prepares special safety plans for events which will attract more passengers including crowd control measures, provision of additional trains, increase train frequency, and deployment of additional frontline and security staff. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro station.
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What are the service hours? Every station has the train service hours stated at the entrance. Normal operating hours are 6am to 11pm, except Fridays, when it operates from 2pm.
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How can I make a complaint about the Dubai Metro? If you have a complaint, the easiest way to register this would be to call the RTA on 8009090, alternatively, you can visit the RTA website at www.rta.gov.ae and submit your complaint via the website. We endeavour to respond to all correspondence within 14 days. Does the service get heavily overloaded during special festivities/special events - making it unsafe to travel on? Serco prepares special safety plans for events which will attract more passengers including crowd control measures, provision of additional trains, increase train frequency, and deployment of additional frontline and security staff. (Above) The first exclusive peek inside a metro station.
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Can I take large items on board the train such as a surf board? No you cannot. You are able to take on board smaller items, such as hand luggage. (Above) Dubai's ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum photographed at Al Rashidiya Station on the night of the Metro Red Line launch. (ITP Images)
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What are the Key Performance Targets that Serco need to achieve for managing the Dubai Metro? Train punctuality (99%), Train availability (99%), Equipment availability (99%). (Above) 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 Al Rashidiya Station - Red Line launch.
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Will there be any penalty in the case that the service targets are not met? Yes; there will be penalty. Serco will be putting in every effort to make sure that targets will be met. (Right) Dubai's ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum photographed at Al Rashidiya Station on the night of the Dubai Metro Red Line launch. (ITP Images)
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How has Serco/RTA ensured that the staffs are helpful and the services are of good quality? Through careful selection of staff. Provision of customer service training to all service staff, building a service culture and monitoring performance through customer satisfaction surveys. (Above) The Union Metro Station.
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How many languages do the train and station attendants speak?

There is staff that is able to speak Arabic and English at the stations and onboard. Serco is also looking at providing multi-language support through the Customer Service Call Centre.

(Right) The exquisite chandeliers at the Khalid Bin Al Walid Metro Station.
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What are the job opportunities and the percentage of UAE nationals to be recruited for the Metro when it operates?

The current target of Emiratisation is 30-50 percent of positions at and above manager level at initial years of Red Line and Green Line operations. 50-60 percent of positions at manager and above levels by 2015.
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What is the total number of staff for the Metro?

2,200 staff were to be recruited for the opening of Red Line, building up to 3,000 staff when both Red Line and Green Line open.

(Right) Inside the Deira City Centre Metro station.
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What about security on trains at and near stations?

Professionally trained security staff will be recruited to perform the following tasks: Patrolling of stations and trains, 24/365 access control, management of security risks, enforcement of railway bye-laws, cooperation with Police on law and order enforcement. There will be a dedicated Police team in managing security issues in Dubai Metro. State-of-the-art safety equipment will be used such as CCTV in stations, trains, depots, track-side and sub-stations, Emergency Call Points (ECP) on station platforms & trains, intrusion alarm systems and smart card operated access control system.

(Right) The first passengers on the Dubai Metro.
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Is the train safe to ride as we see a lot of swerving curves in the track?

Yes. Dubai Metro is designed to meet international safety standards and its safety is assessed by an Independent Safety Assessor (ISA). The Metro can run up and down the viaduct safely and up to 3-4 percent gradient.

(Right) The Union Metro station.
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Is there any chance of a train breaking down. If so, do you have any contingency plans?

The probability of such event will be very low. In the unfortunate event if that happens, Serco has prepared contingency plans to ensure passenger safety and comfort.

(Right) The first passengers on the Dubai Metro after it opened to the public on Sept 10, 2009.
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What has been done to ensure that the railway does not make a lot of noise?

Noise mitigation measures include low noise motors and air-conditioning equipments, viaduct enclosure designs to reduce noise propagation while anti-vibration measures are included in the track system to minimise noise.

(Right) The first passengers on the Dubai Metro after it opened to the public on Sept 10, 2009.
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What is the forecast patronage for the Metro?

By 2020: about 1.8 million per day; over 650 million per year.

(Right) The first passengers on the Dubai Metro after it opened to the public on Sept 10, 2009.
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What will be the expected market share?

Eventually achieving 30 percent when the full network opens.

(Right) The first passengers on the Dubai Metro after it opened to the public on Sept 10, 2009.
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How will Serco handover the concession to RTA at the end of contract and will that guarantee that the operation and management of the Metro will not be affected?

Serco is obliged to hand back the Dubai Metro to RTA in a similar condition as received at the outset, and is subject to a rigorous regime for care and maintenance of the assets of the railway.

(Information source: Dubai Roads and Transport Authority)

(Right) The first passengers on the Dubai Metro after it opened to the public on Sept 10, 2009.
Wed 08 Sep 2010 05:03 PM GST