x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Five more stations to open on Red Line

Stops opening on Dubai metro in mid-October should make door-to-door commuting more manageable.

Business Bay is one of five Metro stations scheduled to open in mid-October.
Business Bay is one of five Metro stations scheduled to open in mid-October.

DUBAI // Five more stations on the Dubai Metro's Red Line are to open next month, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced. The Business Bay, First Gulf Bank, Sharaf DG, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Nakheel stations are scheduled to open in mid-October, though Essa al Dossary, the chief executive of the RTA's public transportation agency, did not provide an exact date. That would leave just three of the eventual 29 stops on the line to be completed.

The RTA has opened the line in stages, with the initial 10 stops being added to throughout this year. The agency said the final three stations would not begin service this year because there was not sufficient development around the areas, citing estimates of low commuter figures. Those stations are Energy, Jebel Ali Industrial and Jebel Ali. Mr al Dossary also said the Green Line, which has 20 planned stops and will intersect the Red Line, was expected to begin operation in August.

"We hope the Metro will be the backbone of the transport system in Dubai," he said. Details were also released of the emirate's Public Transport Day, which is set to take place on November 1. Commuters will be able to use the Metro, public buses and water buses free of charge on that day if they have a Nol fare card, said Abdul Mohsin Younes, the chief executive of the RTA's strategy and corporate governance.

"There will be no limit, no restriction, it is unlimited free travel for the whole day," Mr Younes said. "This will improve the culture of public transport among all sections, reduce traffic congestion and integrate different means of transport." Commuters will still need the cards to enter Metro stations but no fare will be debited. The event will mark five years since the RTA's inception, with activities planned at different stations. Some 2.7 million Nol cards have been sold since the opening of the Metro in September last year.

Commuters welcomed the imminent station openings, which should make it possible for many of them to walk to their nearest stop rather than taking a bus or taxi there. Myron Rodrigues, the manager of a sports facility in the Gold and Diamond Park, plans to buy Nol cards for his workers once the First Gulf Bank station opens. "It will definitely make a difference," he said. "It will save time and money. We will give employees Nol cards. Instead of the company car picking them up and dropping them off at Bur Dubai, they can commute by Metro."

Mr Rodrigues commutes from Sharjah in a friend's car to the Rashidya station, where he takes the Metro to either the Mall of the Emirates or Noor Islamic Bank station. "Once First Gulf opens I can walk to the office," he said. "It will take five minutes. I won't need to take a taxi from the other stations any more." The new stops will benefit offices and commercial buildings around the Business Bay station; retail, manufacturing units and warehouses in the Gold and Diamond Park near the First Gulf Bank station; high-rise residential towers near Jumeirah Lake Towers and Sharaf DG stops as well as villas and the Emirates Gold Club near the Nakheel station.

Claire Ruru, a New Zealander, described the news that she could soon walk the 100 metres from her apartment to the Jumeirah Lake Towers station as "fantastic". "Now it will be door to door by Metro for me," said Ms Ruru, who works near to the World Trade Centre station. "This is great, great news. I will not need to take a taxi or use the feeder buses." Meanwhile, Tanya Rehmani, whose family moved from downtown Dubai to an apartment near the Sharaf DG station earlier this year, said she was "very happy".

"Everybody has been waiting for this news. I will save so much time each way ... this is what I have been hoping for so long." rtalwar@thenational.ae