As many as 1.7 billion riders have used the Metro in the last 12 years. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Metro turns 12 on Thursday.

Since its launch by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) at 09:09:09pm on a Wednesday, September 9, 2009, Dubai Metro has been a massive success with more than 700,000 commuters using the service every day.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had inaugurated the Red Line of Dubai Metro, spanning 52km and comprising 29 stations (four underground, 24 elevated and one at-grade).

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated Dubai Metro on September 9, 2009. Image Credit: Supplied

Two years later, on September 9, 2011, Sheikh Mohammed launched the Green Line, extending 23km and comprising 18 stations (six underground and 12 elevated). The Red and Green Lines intersect at the Union and Burjuman stations. It is the world’s longest, automated, driverless train system — which is a tourist attraction as well!

Dubai Metro is the brainchild of Sheikh Mohammed and it reflects his vision for developing a world-class infrastructure that is in sync with Dubai’s image and stature as a global hub for commerce, tourism and leisure.

1.7 billion riders

As many as 1.7 billion riders have used the Metro in the last 12 years.

The number of Metro riders soared from about 39 million in 2010 to as much as 69 million the following year. With the launch of the Green Line in September 2011, the number of Metro riders rocketed to 109 million in 2012.

The ridership continued to grow and in 2015, it reached 179 million. By the end of 2018, it broke the two-hundred-million barrier, clocking 204 million riders.

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Dubai Metro serves as the lifeline for many residents and visitors as well. Image Credit: RTA

Life on the Metro

Dubai Metro serves as the lifeline for many residents and visitors as well. Indian expatriate Joel Monteiro, 41, who works for a private company in Dubai, said he opted not to buy a car and instead decided to use the Metro extensively. Joel commutes to his work daily by the Metro and he has been doing this for the last seven years. “It is a super convenient mode of transportation. The timing is near-perfect. It is the most reliable mode of public transport in Dubai.”

Joel Monteiro

Joel takes the Metro from Sharaf DG Station near his residence and travels all the way to Dubai Internet City. “It takes me around 45 minutes to reach my destination,” he said.

He said one of the best things about the Metro is that it is an economical mode of transport. “My daily travel spend to and from office is just Dh10 — all thanks to the Dubai Metro. Plus, I don’t have to deal with traffic woes and parking problems,” he said.

Joel added that his Metro commute daily is the time when plans his day ahead. “It is a time I relax, think and plan for the day.”

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The Burjuman Metro Station. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Making friends on the go

Filipina expatriate Mary Kris Lagura, 31, working as an optician assistant, uses the Dubai Metro daily to work. She has been travelling on the Metro for the past two years. “I see the same people on the Metro. Some of us have even become friends. The Dubai Metro is a huge money saver for me.”

Mary Kris Lagura

She recalled that initially, when she started using this mode of transportation, it was not very convenient for her. “I had a fair amount of walking to do to reach the station, but ever since I moved to Ibn Battuta for my job, it has been great.” She takes the Metro from Mall of the Emirates to Ibn Battuta daily. The commute lasts 40 minutes, she said. “Dubai Metro is so neat and clean. I just feel so safe travelling on it,” Lagura added.

Hendrick Beukes

The convenience factor

South African expat Hendrick Beukes, 50, said: “If one needs to travel over a longer distance in the city in a short span of time then Dubai Metro is the best option. I use the Metro when I need to drop my car off at the garage. I also use it when I feel a bit lazy to drive and want to save on time, traffic and parking fees. The Metro is super convenient in that respect.”

A practical means of transportation

Bai Norhaya

Hamza Moghal

Filipina Bai Norhaya, 39, a laboratory quality manager at a private hospital in Dubai, also said the Metro was a practical means of transportation for her. “To reach certain places in Dubai, the Metro is just perfect. For example, if you are going to the World Trade Center, it makes complete sense to travel by Metro. There is no hassle of negotiating the traffic or struggling to find a parking. The Metro is a convenient option in many cases.”

Indian expatriate Hamza Moghal, 15, a grade 11 student at Deira International School, feels that travelling by the Metro gives him a great sense of independence. “My friends and I only use the Metro when we go out and meet each other as it is completely safe.”

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The Expo 2020 Dubai Metro Station is one of the latest additions to the Dubai Metro network. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Dubai Metro: At a glance

- The Dubai Metro extends up to 75km: 52km on the Red Line and 23km on the Green Line.

- The Metro route is partly underground and the rest is on an elevated track. A limited sector of the Red Line (about 3.3km) runs at ground level.

- Each Metro train comprises five fully air-conditioned cabins with a total capacity of 650 riders. All trains are driverless.

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- There are 129 trains available for the Metro service in total.

- The design capacity of the Metro network is 26,000 riders per hour per direction on both Red and Green Lines. By 2020, the Dubai Metro served about 700,000 riders daily and 255 million riders annually.

- Three multi-level Park-N-Ride terminals have been constructed with a capacity of 8,000 parking slots.

- The interior design of the Metro stations on both the Red and Green Lines as well as on Route 2020 feature six symbolic themes.