x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Dubai Metro to run 24 hours to ring in the new year

Transport chiefs hope to keep traffic flowing smoothly as thousands celebrate the new year.

Dubai // The Dubai Metro will run around the clock on new year's eve and taxis will have special lanes to help traffic flow to revellers' main destination, the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa area.

In previous years large parts of Dubai, especially around Dubai Mall, have been completely jammed with traffic, with chaos at many Metro stations.

But this year transport chiefs hope things will be different. Ahmed Al Hammadi, who heads the the Road and Transport Authority's annual events team, said the Metro would operate around the clock from 6am on the 31st until it closes as usual on the evening of January 1. During that time he expects the trains to carry 132,000 passengers.

Trains will run every two and half minutes during peak hours and eight minutes during off-peak hours.

The RTA will also provide about 10,000 extra parking spaces at the World Trade Centre and another 8,000 at Meydan racecourse, with extra signposting to the car parks. Buses and shuttle services will be laid on, too.

Metro stations near Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall will be served by 40 buses, which will make 370 trips and have a total capacity of 15,000 passengers. Ten each will serve Burj Khalifa station, the Financial Centre Station and Business Bay Station, six will serve the car park at the World Trade Centre and four the Meydan car park. The buses will also operate round the clock.

Twenty extra road signs will encourage drivers heading towards Sheikh Zayed Road to use the inner roads in the Business bay District, to ease the traffic at the Financial Centre Road.

Boulevard Road in Downtown Dubai will close at 6pm on the 31st, with one lane kept open for emergency vehicles only.

There will be special entry points for VIPs, restaurant visitors and those who need access.

Taxis, which are expected to make about 53,000 trips on new year's eve, will have designated lanes.

"To ensure the deployment of enough taxis as soon as possible, the RTA has designated lanes exclusively for these vehicles, and also endorsed additional overflow parking at Etisalat at Jafliah, World Trade Centre and Meydan," said Mr Al Hammadi.