500million is the number of passengers who have travelled by Metro since 09/09/09 Passenger strength is the number of passengers who used the Dubai Metro in 2013 138 million Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: From 60,000 passengers daily in 2009 to 500,000 commuters in 2014, the growth of Dubai Metro has been one of Dubai’s most extraordinary success stories.

In the first decade of the noughties when traffic chaos was the order of the day, an expansive Metro network was just what the doctor ordered for Dubai.

When the transit system was envisaged and put into execution, the authorities and the leadership of Dubai exerted every effort to ensure its success.

But the heights of popularity it achieved in such a short duration is what amazes many and it keeps growing every minute.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), is the man who oversaw this dream morph into the extraordinary tale that it is today.

Now, after five eventful years into the operations of the world’s largest driverless Metro network, Al Tayer can’t be more pleased.

“Dubai Metro in particular and the transportation infrastructure in general is vital for Dubai’s competiveness and sustainability. The consistent investment by the government of Dubai in this sector has demonstrated the wisdom and farsighted vision of our leadership,” said Al Tayer.

The role of the Metro in Dubai’s transportation system can’t be undermined. Transporting in excess of 470 million passengers in five years, the mass transit system has quickly become the most popular and convenient medium to travel in Dubai. This, despite the sapping heat that works as a deterrent to many residents for at least six months of the year.

“The Metro has contributed effectively in enhancing the living and business conditions in the emirate. Since its inception on September 9, 2009, Dubai Metro’s daily ridership has increased more than sevenfold. The number of average daily passengers has increased from 60,000 passengers per day in 2009 to approximately 500,000 passengers per day in 2014,” added Al Tayer.

Al Tayer argued that as the number continues to grow every day, one can imagine what would have been the situation without Dubai Metro.

“Clearly, traffic congestion and pollution would have been much higher than what they are at the current level,” he stated.

According to figures provided by RTA, around 80 per cent of Metro passengers don’t own cars, which directly implies that the Metro has significantly contributed to reducing the number of potential vehicles on roads.

Taking into consideration the direct impact of reducing vehicles from the roads and easing congestion, Dubai Metro has, according to RTA research, helped reduce CO2 emissions by more than 645,000kg/day.

“Dubai Metro was designed and constructed to meet the highest environmental sustainability standards. Hence, it significantly contributes to the green environment by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The design adopted for the Metro system has minimum impact on air compared to a car which emits 6-9 tonnes of CO2 per year,” explained Al Tayer.

Considered one of the most efficient, safest and cleanest Metro systems, RTA says the availability of trains has reached 100 per cent while the punctuality rate is at 99.8 per cent. Crime and vandalism, which are so common on most Metros around the world, are at near zero level.

“We are happy to provide people with an efficient and high quality mode of transport. This is part of Dubai Government’s goal to ‘delight’ people,” said Al Tayer.

Commemorating the fifth anniversary of Dubai Metro, RTA looks back at the success that has gone beyond the boundaries of the emirate, confirming the standing of Dubai as a distinctive metropolis.

“We believe that Dubai can achieve even better results based on the clear vision of its leaders and the innovative work spirit of its people,” said Al Tayer. “As we look at developing our services, we have introduced services like the express trains and expanded the women and children’s cabins from half to one during peak hours. This change was welcomed wholeheartedly by the women of Dubai who use it.”

Speaking about the future, Al Tayer said: “We have a comprehensive rail network master plan to meet the future urban and economic growth of Dubai. Within the coming years, RTA will be focusing on the planning and provision of the road and rail infrastructure required to serve the Expo 2020. We are currently finalising a comprehensive transportation master plan for this purpose. The Red line expansion to the Expo 2020 site is at the top of priorities of that plan and is due to be operational ahead of the Expo 2020 event.”