In addition to providing a new transport artery through some of Dubai's busiest neighbourhoods, officials hope the Dubai Metro will become a major tourist attraction in its own right. According to WAM, the state news agency, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, said he was satisfied with the rate of progress on the project, scheduled to open September 9.
He added that the project "would be one of the major flagship civilisational and tourist landmarks in the country" and forecast that it would bolster the local tourism industry by attracting more tourists. The 75km project's Red Line will be the first to open. When completed, the Metro will have 47 stations, nine of which will be underground. During his tour of inspection yesterday, Sheikh Maktoum visited several stations and tunnels. He was briefed by Matter al Tayer, executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
The RTA recently announced that the price of fares to ride on the Dh15.5 billion (US$42.2bn) train network would be among the world's cheapest. A ticket for a trip will cost between Dh2 and Dh6.50, which is three times cheaper than comparable fares in Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York. Fares entitling users to travel in gold-class carriages will range from Dh3.60 to Dh11.60. Some mall managers in Dubai have expressed concern at the lack of parking close to Metro stations and are worried that transit users will flood car parks.
According to the RTA, the British Office of Rail Regulation is overseeing the Metro's construction to ensure safety and to provide assistance for inspections. It is the first time the office has worked with a transport entity from outside Europe. The RTA refused to disclose the terms of the two-year contract with the office. * The National