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Road projects spanning 138 lane-kilometres, including nine interchanges with 64 bridges, have been completed. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: All roads lead to Expo 2020 Dubai. And Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has delivered 15 Expo-related projects to offer visitors exceptional mobility options.

RTA recommends that the best way to get to the Expo 2020 Dubai site is by public transport, given the enhanced role of Dubai Metro with its Route 2020. The public transport authority has rolled out 50 new trains with novel designs and roomy interiors for a more convenient ride. There are also 203 buses, ready to transport Expo visitors from 18 stations across Dubai and key cities of the UAE. In addition, 15,000 taxis and limousines will be deployed across the city.

Road projects spanning 138 lane-kilometres, including nine interchanges with 64 bridges, have been completed. There are 25 entry lanes and 21 exit lanes for the Expo site, which also has 30,000 parking slots.

Smart technology and apps are available to ease the mobility of visitors aboard Metro, buses and taxis while the Enterprise Command and Control Centre will serve as the Intelligent Traffic Centre. With Dubai ready to welcome the world to Expo 2020 Dubai from October 1, here’s everything you need to know in order to reach the world’s greatest show:

Dubai Metro service hours

According to RTA, Dubai Metro’s Expo 2020 Station will operate on October 1, synchronised with the official opening of Expo 2020. The Red and Green Lines of Dubai Metro will offer passenger services from Saturday to Wednesday from 5am to 1.15am the following day. On Thursdays, Metro service will run from 5am to 2.15am and on Fridays from 8am to 1.15am the next day. The service frequency will be 2.38 minutes during peak times.

Dubai Tram, meanwhile, will provide services from Saturday to Thursday from 6am to 1am (the following day), and from 8am to 1am on Fridays.

Route 2020

All seven stations on Route 2020 (Jebel Ali, The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai Investment Park and Expo 2020) have long been opened. Dubai Metro is the backbone of Dubai’s mass transit system and Route 2020, which extends 15km from Jebel Ali Metro Station on the Red Line to Expo 2020 Station, provides safe and smooth transport for visitors to the Expo as well as Dubai districts. Route 2020 has a capacity of 46,000 riders per hour in both directions and the number of riders is expected to reach 275,000 per day in 2030.

Each Route 2020 station has a distinct interior design, taking the elements of nature — including earth, air, fire and water. The iconic Expo 2020 Station is expected to receive 35,000 daily visitors to Expo during weekdays and the number is set to increase to 47,000 daily visitors during weekends. This number accounts for 29 per cent of the total expected number of daily visitors to Expo.

RTA Route 2020 Dubai Metro Station
Each Route 2020 station has a distinct interior design Image Credit: Supplied

Expo Station, which can serve 29,000 riders per hour during peak times and 522,000 riders per day, has a unique plane-wing design, symbolising Dubai’s take-off towards innovation. Expo visitors will really find it convenient to take the Metro as the Expo Station is also synchronised with other public transport means, including buses and taxis.

Expo buses

Dedicated Expo buses will start rolling from 6.30am and will continue for 90 minutes even after the closure of Expo Gates. Passenger commuting service from the parking area (Expo Parking Shuttle) to the three Expo Gates will start at 9am and continue for 90 minutes after the closure of Expo Gates. Bus service between Expo Gates (Expo People Mover) will start at 6.30am and continue 90 minutes until after the closure of Expo Gates.

To facilitate the movement of Expo visitors from different emirates, RTA has allocated 203 buses from 18 stations — nine stations in Dubai and nine in the other emirates.

Free bus service

Expo bus service is free of charge in Dubai from nine stations and stops, in addition to two routes to transport visitors from hotels directly to the site of Expo.

RTA has designated 126 public buses to serve Expo 2020 visitors from nine stations/stops across Dubai, including Palm Jumeirah, Al Baraha, Al Ghubaiba, Etisalat, Global Village, International City, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubai Mall and Dubai International Airport (Terminal 3) by operating 455 to 476 trips per day.

RTA will also provide two additional services — the Expo Parking Shuttle service, to transfer visitors from car parks to the three Expo Gates (Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability) and the Expo People Mover service to facilitate visitor movements between Expo Gates.

RTA will operate 77 buses to transport Expo visitors from nine locations outside Dubai, including three stations in Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi International Airport Station, Abu Dhabi Main Bus Station, Marina Mall Station), in addition to one point in Al Ain City at Al Ain Bus Station.

Expo 2020 Dubai buses
Dedicated Expo buses will start rolling from 6.30am and will continue for 90 minutes even after the closure of Expo Gates Image Credit: Supplied

Inter-emirate buses

There will be two stations in Sharjah — Al Jubail Bus Station, Muwailih Station. Other stations include Ras Al Khaimah Bus Station, Ajman Bus Station, and the bus stop near City Centre Fujairah. There will be 193 trips per day during weekdays, rising to 213 daily trips on weekends (Thursdays and Fridays). According to RTA: “The construction of Expo bus stations catered to fulfilling the requirements and standards of integrated transportation and enhancing the interconnection of the city. The bus stations also serve the needs of people of determination and the connection between various transport stations.”

Modern buses

Expo 2020 buses are of high safety and luxury standards, with comfortable seats and conforming to Euro 6 emission standards, making them the first of their kind in the Middle East and North Africa.

Buses have low floors to ease boarding and disembarkation and make them accessible to people of determination. “Through the deployment of these high-quality buses across a wide geographical coverage, we seek to make mass transit means the ideal choice of mobility for Expo visitors,” RTA underlined.

Taxis and Limousines

RTA is deploying 15,000 taxis and limousines to serve the emirate and visitors to Expo 2020. They include 9,710 taxis and 5,681 limousines, which can be booked through the e-hail services of Uber and Careem. RTA added ten vehicles to serve people of determination at the Expo 2020 site. Taxi and e-hail services will run 24x7.

RTA also launched the automated taxi deployment system to secure the required number of taxis at the Expo 2020 site. Riders can pay the taxi fare with their e-wallet, using the Alipay App and QR code, without using credit or debit cards. The service targets tourists and visitors from abroad. They can also use Hala for booking taxis and bus arrival touch screens that are integrated with the Careem app for booking taxis.

Traffic management

To plan and manage mobility and traffic in Dubai, and streamline crowd movement during celebrations, RTA constructed the Enterprise Command and Control Centre (EC3) and the Intelligent Traffic Centre in Al Barsha.

EC3 is one of the biggest and most sophisticated control centres in the world in utilising smart technologies. It controls and integrates various RTA mass transit systems (Metro, tram, buses, taxis and water transport) and connects several traffic control centres to enable smooth public transport.

Expo 2020 Dubai RTA control room
RTA constructed the Enterprise Command and Control Centre (EC3) and the Intelligent Traffic Centre in Al Barsha Image Credit: Supplied

EC3 also plays a key role in monitoring and managing incidents, crises and events related to roads, transportation and traffic. The centre uses artificial intelligence to process big data amounting to 75 million mobility data-entry per day. These technologies enable RTA to plan smart mobility, improve transport efficiency and enhance customer experience.

Dubai Intelligent Traffic Centre in Al Barsha is also a key pillar of the traffic safety strategy. It meets the huge expansion and requirements for hosting major exhibitions such as Expo 2020. RTA had also developed and expanded smart traffic systems by developing an integrated infrastructure of traffic systems on Dubai’s roads network.

Smart services

RTA also developed smart and innovative projects to serve visitors to Expo 2020, particularly those who will use public buses. There is a service for journey planning through S’hail on bus timetable screens. The system provides daily information about Expo, and the network of buses dedicated to shuttling visitors between Expo Gates (People Mover Buses). Services also include adding a new payment channel for using credit and debit cards in the ticketing and top-up machines.

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There is a service for Expo journey planning through S’hail on bus timetable screens Image Credit: Supplied

Traffic management

RTA has also charted a plan for managing traffic movement on surrounding roads and junctions during weekdays and weekends as well as days witnessing mega events throughout the Expo. It also charted out alternative plans for coping with all possible scenarios with the potential of causing traffic snarls to ensure a permanent smooth traffic flow during the Expo period.

RTA has accomplished the improvement of the surrounding road network in the area that included the construction of six flyovers to ensure free traffic movement in all directions. It also constructed 64 bridges, stretching upto 13km, five box tunnels extending 450 metres, and roads extending 138 lane-kilometres in addition to 25 entry lanes and 21 exit lanes for vehicles at the Expo site.

The number of lanes on Expo Road was increased from four to six in each direction, while the two flyovers at the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road ensure smooth traffic movement to and from the Expo site. Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street was also widened from two to five lanes in each direction while the intersection of Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street and Al Yalayes Street was transformed into a flyover, providing free traffic movement in all directions.

RTA has also constructed two bridges with two lanes in each direction on Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street and a service road of two lanes in each direction on Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street and Al Yalayes Street. The intersection of Emirates Road with Expo Road has been converted into a flyover to provide free traffic flow in all directions. Constructing Expo Road also involved the construction of bridges extending 2.6km, and roads spanning about 3km. The number of lanes of Expo Road increased from three to six lanes in each direction over a 3km sector, and service roads were constructed to improve the traffic situation of existing roads.

Smooth and swift journey

Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, said the preparedness of RTA and the completion of road infrastructure as well as readiness of mass transit networks will ensure “smooth and express mobility service to visitors of Expo 2020 from Dubai and other emirates across the UAE”.

“Thanks to the huge support and patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the active follow-up of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of the Executive Council, RTA has accomplished 15 projects to serve Expo 2020 Dubai, costing more than Dh15 billion,” he noted.

“From the time of the announcement that Dubai would host Expo 2020, RTA focused on implementing the directives of His Highness to construct an integrated infrastructure of roads and transport networks to provide a unique, smooth and fast mobility service to visitors of Expo 2020 from the UAE and abroad. The aim was to make the visit to Expo a memorable and enjoyable experience for all during an exceptional edition of Expo,” Al Tayer underlined.