x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dubai Metro express trains to shave 10 minutes off journeys

The Roads and Transport Authority will test customer reaction to new express train services for the emirate.

A southbound Red Line metro train leaves the Nakheel Station in Dubai. The RTA has announced plans to test two new services on the Red Line to slash travel times.
A southbound Red Line metro train leaves the Nakheel Station in Dubai. The RTA has announced plans to test two new services on the Red Line to slash travel times.

DUBAI // Transport chiefs have announced plans to slash travel times on the Metro's Red Line.

Four new express trains will come into service in October, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said yesterday. The services will cut 10 minutes off the journey from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali.

Two express trains will leave Rashidiya at 5.30am and 5.40am, with two leaving at the same times from Jebel Ali to help morning commuters get to work quickly.

The trains will bypass 14 stations on the Red Line, stopping at the 13 used by more passengers.

"The Red Line has been operational for more than 1,000 days and has surpassed 200,000 passengers per day," said Adnan Al Hammadi, the chief executive of RTA's Rail Agency. "It has come to our attention that there has been a large number of people using the Metro to get to work in the morning, so we have decided to test out an express-train system that is commonly used around the world to help people get to work faster and cut down on the overcrowding."

The express services will stop at Emirates, Al Rigga, Union, Khalid bin Al Waleed, Karama, Al Jafiliya, Emirates Towers, Noor Islamic Bank, First Gulf Bank, Dubai Internet City and Ibn Battuta.

These stations were chosen because more than 4,000 passengers disembark at them each day.

"Some stations can reach up to 9,000 passengers," said Mr Al Hammadi.

Removing stops will allow the train, which has a top speed of 85kph, to increase its pace between stations and further reduce travel times. The current average speed on the Red Line is 45kph.

The express trains will be on trial for five months, after which the RTA will decide whether the service should be implemented permanently.

Ramadan Abdulla, the director of the Rail Operations Department, said: "It should cover its costs, and we need to look at the number of people using it, carry out surveys and get customers feedback. The important thing is that there should be an added value to the people from this service."

The RTA will also adjust the length of time spent stopped at less popular stations.

"High-passenger stations will have a 30-second stop, while less busy ones will have a 20-second stop," said Mr Abdulla.

This adjustment is expected to save passengers a minute and 40 seconds on a trip from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali.

malkhan@thenational.ae