x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Metro to roll out publicity campaign

As thousands of men work around the clock to meet the September 9 target for opening the Dubai Metro, the city's transport authority is preparing a flurry of publicity to attract potential users.

DUBAI // As thousands of men work around the clock to meet the September 9 target for opening the Dubai Metro, the city's transport authority is preparing a flurry of publicity to attract potential users. Between 500 to 1,500 workers are busy day and night at each of the 29 stations on the 54km Red Line. "There are sometimes up to 40 contractors all waiting for one guy to finish installing something, then they come in and add their bit," said Peyman Younes Parham, the director of marketing and corporate communications. "They are all working so hard."

The RTA has denied an online report that only nine stations would open on schedule. There had also been concerns that low numbers of passengers might delay the opening of some stations. Mattar al Tayer, the executive director of the RTA, said in March that delayed residential developments around some of the stations might cause these delays, but did not specify the stations. A marketing campaign, based on the advice of the consulting firm that measured the expectations of residents, is scheduled in the weeks ahead to encourage sceptics to take a hard look at the new Metro, Mr Parham said yesterday. "We are going to release a number of new advertisements on radio and in print about the different aspects of the Metro," he said.

"We will have lots of government bodies on board with us, which has never been done before, right up until the launch date." Information will include schedules and lengths of journeys, and demonstrations of how user-friendly the system is. The award-winning firm Saatchi & Saatchi will create the advertisements. "At the least a guy who knows about the Metro will then be able to make up his mind if he wants to use it or not, because he has all the information," Mr Parham said.

Residents in Dubai Marina said they were surprised at how fast the stations had appeared along Sheikh Zayed Road. "If you asked me two months ago if they would be ready by September, I would have said no," said Anna Morrisson of Britain. "But now looking at them, they look as good as done." Ms Morrisson, a food and beverage manager who lives across from the Jumeirah Lake Towers station, said she would be tempted to use it on her days off and in the evenings to explore Deira and Bur Dubai.

"I never see much work going on, but every time I look at it, there seems to be something new to it," she said. The Dh20 (U$5.40) reusable card now in use on buses will be available immediately on the Dubai Metro for an initial charge of Dh4. It can be topped up to a maximum value of Dh500. eharnan@thenational.ae