Al Mansouri buys the first Nol card at the Danube station. The 28th stop will increase Red Line trip time by 17 seconds. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News

Dubai: Danube Metro station, formerly Jebel Ali Industrial station, began operations yesterday, becoming 28th station to open on the Redline of Dubai Metro.

The station was inaugurated by Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minster of Economy, in the presence of Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of RTA, and Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group.

“Dubai has been very wise in terms of developing infrastructure projects and have a very futuristic outlook into how they plan these kind of projects. Government of Dubai has always taken steps that have long term benefits. Infrastructure development is key to overall success of a country and without which Dubai and UAE would not have been able to position itself where they are currently now,” said Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, speaking with Gulf News, following the inauguration of Danube station.

Adding that Dubai Metro is an example worth imitating, which has played an important role in moving people and easing traffic he said: “We are very proud of Dubai Metro and it is one of the most prestigious achievements of the country. Definitely it can be extended to neighbouring emirates, particularly Sharjah and Ajman. Local government bodies should discuss this and work out plans to take this further.”

Danube Group which bought the naming rights of the station from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) last month along with BurJuman, became the first expat owned private company to associate with Dubai Metro’s Naming Rights project.

“I’m really proud to associate Danube with the prestigious Metro project and I thank His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] for giving me this opportunity. Credit goes to the wise leadership of Dubai for the success of Danube. Dubai provides the right atmosphere for businesses to prosper and we are looking forward to growing further with this beautiful emirate,” said Rizwan Sajan, Chairman of Danube Group.

Danube station, which is the second station to provide direct access to Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), is expected to bring in at least 10,000 more riders on the metro in the initial phase, adding to the current average daily ridership of 360,000.

The station which is the only one at the grade (on the ground, neither elevated nor underground) station out of the 29 stops on the Red Line, has the capacity to handle around 11,000 people per hour per direction.

The sprawling free zone area houses 6,700 firms, including the regional headquarters of some of the world’s biggest corporate houses and has a working and living population of 170,000.

“We are really happy that one of the leading JAFZA-based companies has taken this initiative and I’m sure this will offer a lot of convenience for people in their daily travel. This will also help around 50,000 people who live inside JAFZA to travel to other parts of the city with ease,” said Ebrahim Mohammad Al Janahi, Deputy CEO of JAFZA.

Thirteen stations on both Red and Green Lines are currently named after corporate establishments.

RTA sells naming rights for a duration of 10 years and exact amount earned through the project is not made public. Emirates, GIGICO, Etisalat, Dubai Mall, Sharaf DG, First Gulf Bank, Noor Islamic Bank, Nakheel, Mall of the Emirates, City Centre are some of the other entities that have stations named after them.