Dubai: Thirty million passengers have used Dubai Metro since it began operating on September 9, 2009, a top official has announced.
Tomorrow, the Metro marks its first anniversary of operation "amid huge success indicators in the operational efficiency, punctuality in journey schedules and the highest global safety standards", said Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
"The number of Dubai Metro users has been on the rise since its launch on 09/09/2009, jumping from 1.8 million passengers in October 2009 to 3.3 million passengers in August 2010, recording in the process a growth rate of 183 per cent," he explained.
Video: Stunning timelapse of the Dubai Metro
Metro use peaked on July 1, when 130,529 passengers used the service, official figures show.
Al Tayer said the strategic objective was for public transport to carry 30 per cent of commuters by 2020. Currently, the figure is 12.6 per cent. He urged all residents to use the Metro as their main means of transport.
Al Tayer said he was "happy at the huge success" of the Metro, which "stands out as one of the wise concepts of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in providing an integrated infrastructure of road networks and transportation systems". The system comprises train lines, public buses and marine transport.
The Metro's Red Line service has reduced road traffic by between 10 and 20 per cent during peak hours in the areas it serves, according to Engineer Adnan Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of the RTA's Rail Agency.
For example, he said, 108,670 passengers used the Metro every day in June. "Had it not been for the Metro, this number means there would have been 64,000 more cars on Dubai roads every day that month."
Al Hammadi said there "will not be any increase in Metro fares any time soon" as a result of the recent increase in fuel prices. He said fare prices were "linked to the policy of Dubai Government and its strategic vision for the development process in the city. Therefore, there are many factors that contribute in the study of specifying fares".
He said the RTA was in the process of mapping out its train network so that it could prioritise expansion projects.
How have your experiences with the Metro been? How do the services now compare to the day it opened? Do you have any suggestions on how to improve them further?