DUBAI: The Dubai Metro Green Line will open on September 9, making the driverless rail system the world’s longest.
The new line has 18 stations over 23 kilometres and covers some of the emirate’s busiest tourist segments along the Creek, crowded residential areas, business districts and ministry offices.
Transport officials anticipate the number of passengers will double to 270,000 a day.
The launch is part of the Roads and Transport Authority’s strategic plan to improve infrastructure, integrate roads and transit systems, boost use of public transport and ensure smooth mobility, said Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and the RTA’s executive director.
The Green Line will open exactly two years to the day after the launch of the Red Line. Fifty trains will operate on both lines at peak times and 28 off-peak, at a frequency of six to eight minutes.
The first section of Green Line stations are near key ministry offices. Al Qusais station is near the Ministry of Education, Dubai Civil Defence and Al Tawar Centre, which houses several government services including attestation of documents. Al Nahda station is adjacent to the Ministry of Public Works, and Al Qiyadah station is close to Dubai Police headquarters.
Heavy traffic is also expected at the Airport Free Zone station, which will take passengers directly to Terminal Two and also serve office workers in Dubai Airport Free Zone.
Trial runs for the Green Line began last year. RTA officials have said the rigorous six-month trials tested safety and system integration to avoid glitches that marred the opening of the Red Line in September 2009, when trains were delayed and passengers were stranded on trains stuck between stations.
The Red and Green lines will intersect at two points for transfers between the lines. The first is Union Station, billed as the world’s largest underground metro station spanning an area of 25,000 square metres. The station is built over two levels and can handle about 22,000 passengers an hour.
The second transfer between the lines is at Khalid Bin Al Waleed Station.
The Green Line will start at Etisalat Station, which is connected to a multilevel car park for 2,350 vehicles.
Trains will pass through a tunnel of about eight kilometres, beginning at Salah Uddin station, through to Union Station.
Al Ras and Al Ghubaiba stations are the central showpieces in the design of the Metro. Elements of 19th-century architecture have been woven into these two heritage-inspired stations to blend into the nearby Dubai Creek areas and traditional souqs that are popular tourist spots.
Entrances at ground level and public areas feature the emirate’s classic architectural style with arches and images of elegant wind towers, or barjeel, intricate lattice work known as mashrabiya and narrow alleys called sukaik.
Dubai Healthcare City will be the last stop on the Green Line, and will serve passengers en route to hospitals or the offices of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
Al Jadaf and Creek stations are ready for operation but the RTA has decided to delay their opening because nearby property projects had not been completed and there were too few potential passengers, Mr Al Tayer said.
Residents said they looked forward to using the new line after the Eid break.
“Just a few days ago I needed to go to Ghusais and I was thinking how good it would be after the Eid holidays to take the Green Line and avoid driving stress,” said Jogi Raj, a musician who frequently travels from his home in Jumeirah Lake Towers to the busy Ghusais area.
“The best part of the Green Line is that it’s where all the official ministries’ work needs to be completed so it’s very well connected,” he said. “In peak traffic hours people will be able to just take the Metro instead of worrying about driving there and finding parking space. Travelling will be a lot easier.”
“It’s a great boon, Dubai has set the standard for the GCC,” said Prateek Chaudhary, an advertising professional and interior designer.
“Nobody in the GCC dreamt of a Metro before Dubai and now everyone wants a Metro like ours. It has a significance far beyond the utility element because it has set a standard for public transport.”
Before the Red Line opened, he said, many dismissed it as a non-event.
“People thought it wouldn’t be used,” he recalled. “But now you see people in suits travelling as well. The trains are packed in the morning and evening. It is a fantastic achievement.”