x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Metro use up by 25% on weekday since new stations opened last week

More than 100,000 people passed through one of the 18 Red Line stations on Sunday , up from an average of about 80,000 previously.

DUBAI // The number of passengers on the Metro is up 25 per cent since seven new stations opened. More than 100,000 people passed through one of the 18 Red Line stations on Sunday, up from an average of about 80,000 previously, the Roads and Transport Agency (RTA) said. A breakdown of the figures for each of the new stations was not available. The morning rush was particularly busy on Sunday, with commuters saying trains were packed despite an increase in their frequency.

The RTA initially hoped there would be an additional 65,000 people using the Metro when the new stations opened; it expects passenger numbers to continue to rise as more people become aware that there are more stations. Peyman Younes Parham, the RTA's director of marketing and corporate communications, said: "There are still lots of people who don't know their station is open and there are those who have yet to consider using the Metro for public transport."

Weekend results also showed a jump in passenger numbers. More than 71,000 people used the Metro on Friday, an increase of more than 13,000 on the average Friday traffic in March. Saturday's count was nearly 84,000 compared with almost 72,000 on the average Saturday in March. To handle the increased traffic, transport chiefs on Friday increased the number of trains on the line to 20 from 12, boosting their frequency to one every six minutes during peak operating hours from one every 10 minutes.

Some commuters found the increase noticeable. "The trains are jam-packed during the morning and I think it is because of the new stations that opened," said Shihard Shihar, 28, from India, who works at a bank. Another Indian commuter, Rashadhi Kanchana, 34, an accountant, said as he made his way to the Emirates Tower station that he was convinced more people were riding the rails. "I have noticed the trains are more frequent in the mornings but they are busier," he said. "When I first started using the Metro, I was the only person among my friends to use it daily. Now, a lot of friends use it ."