Dubai Metro passing Museum of the Future. Dubai Metro is the world’s longest driverless metro network, with a length of 89.3km Image Credit: Twitter/@HHShkMohd

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today announced that Dubai Metro has reached a major milestone, carrying a total of two billion passengers since its launch on September 9, 2009.

The state-of-the-art transportation system now boasts a fleet of 129 trains, serving 53 stations across the city, with an average of over 600,000 passengers per day.

With a punctuality rate of 99.7 per cent, the Dubai Metro has become a symbol of efficiency and reliability for residents and tourists alike.

Transcending barriers

Tweeting on the occasion, Sheikh Mohammed noted that the decision to launch the Dubai Metro was met with initial resistance due to the unfamiliarity of the idea and cultural barriers. However, he emphasised that taking responsibility and making difficult decisions was necessary to achieve progress and prosperity for the country and society.

Sheikh Mohammed expressed pride in the accomplishment of fulfilling the promise made to the people of Dubai, and encouraged decision-makers to embrace the courage to make bold choices for the betterment of communities.

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The Dubai Ruler took to twitter to make the announcement. The tweet reads: “Dubai Metro has hit a milestone with 2 billion passengers since its 9-9-2009 launch. With 129 trains and 53 stations, daily ridership exceeds 600k and punctuality is at 99.7 per cent. Despite cultural unfamiliarity and disagreement among officials, taking responsibility for an unconventional decision led to success. Avoiding tough choices is not an option; they shape the destiny of nations and societies.”

The Dubai Metro is the world’s longest driverless rail system and one of the most advanced metro networks, as well as ranking among the busiest.

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There are currently 53 stations in both Red and Green Lines. Dubai Metro also maintains a fleet of 125 trains.

Commenting on the occasion, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said that Dubai’s ability to build a world-class transport network was the result of the vision of Sheikh Mohammed.

As part of Sheikh Mohammed’s keenness to build a city that would serve as a model for future cities, Dubai invested in several infrastructure projects featuring the highest international standards and operational efficiency to ensure the best provision of services, he added.

Sheikh Hamdan praised the RTA for its efforts to implementing quality projects that cater to the mobility needs of the community. “The Dubai Metro has become the backbone of a transit system that connects various key districts in the emirate, ensuring a safe and smooth mobility for riders,” he said said.

Highlighting the positive impact of the Dubai Metro as a sustainable and environmentally friendly public transport solution, Sheikh Hamdan said: "The Dubai Metro is a vital project that serves the community and reflects Dubai's keenness to provide effective, environmentally friendly and sustainable transport solutions. Dubai will continue to develop a highly efficient and reliable transport system to facilitate smooth and safe mobility and support the emirate's overall development goals.”

* Dubai Metro is the world’s longest driverless metro network, with a length of 89.3km

* Two billion passengers have been served since the inauguration on September 9, 2009

* 53 stations, including 7 stations on Route 2020 awarded LEED Gold Certification

* Dubai Metro maintains a fleet of 125 trains

* 99.80% — almost perfect record adherence to operational efficiency in the first half of 2022

The metro's Red Line transported 1.342 billion commuters while the Green Line served 673.531 million commuters. Additionally, the Dubai Metro has maintained a punctuality rate of 99.7%, surpassing international safety standards and demonstrating exceptional operational efficiency.

Dubai Metro's average daily ridership surpassed 616,000 riders in 2022, indicating that RTA's efforts to increase public transportation usage are succeeding. This achievement also reflects a positive shift in the community's mindset towards public transport, as they have recognised the benefits of smoother transportation and reduced costs for fuel and vehicle maintenance.

Besides streamlining the mobility of residents and visitors across the emirate, the Dubai Metro also contributed to bolstering Dubai's competitiveness in hosting global events. These include the successful hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai, which featured the construction of Route 2020 which spans 15km and connects seven stations. Furthermore, the metro has played a crucial role in stimulating Dubai’s economic growth, boosting tourism, besides a 12% appreciation in the value of real estate properties nearby the metro stations.

The number of Dubai Metro riders has surpassed two billion since the metro first opened to the public on September 9, 2009. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Consistent growth

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, Roads and Transport Authority, said: “Statistics reveal a consistent rise in Dubai Metro ridership since the start of the service in September 2009. During the first four months after its inauguration, the metro served 6.089 million riders. By 2010, the number of riders surged from 38.089 million in 2010 to 69.007 million in 2011, the year the Green Line was inaugurated. In 2012, the metro ridership jumped to 109.049 million, reflecting a 58% growth compared to the previous year. In 2013, ridership clocked 137.759 million, and by 2014, the number soared to 164.307 million, a growth rate of over 19%. Metro ridership continued to grow, reaching 178.646 million in 2015, and the upward rise clocked 191.325 million riders in 2016 and crossed the 200.752 million barrier in 2017. By the end of 2017, the total number of metro users since its launch exceeded 1billion.”

“The Dubai Metro's ridership continued to grow steadily hitting 204.405 million riders in 2018 and 202.978 million in 2019. However, in 2020, when the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, metro ridership declined due to lockdowns and precautionary measures, resulting in 113.626 million riders that year. As recovery commenced and life returned to normalcy, the ridership jumped to 151.255 million in 2021. In 2022, the Dubai Metro set a new record and the highest since its launch by serving 225.142 million riders, a remarkable growth rate of nearly 49%. The total number of Dubai Metro users since its inauguration through January of 2023 exceeded two billion,” added Al Tayer.

Success factors

Several factors contributed to the growth of Dubai Metro ridership during this period. These include the opening of new stations as part of the Route 2020 project, and the effective measures taken to ensure quick recovery from repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The effective coordination between the Rail Agency and relevant RTA departments has clearly contributed to the hosting of major international events such as Dubai Expo 2020, FIFA World Cup 2022, and major exhibitions such as Gulf Food, The Big 5, and many others.

Global standing

The Dubai Metro holds its standing as the world's longest driverless metro project and is known as the flagship project of both the RTA as well as Dubai's public transport network. The metro consists of the Red and Green Lines, which span over 89.3 km and connect 53 stations served by a fleet of 129 trains. The facilities and services available at the Dubai Metro stations are among the best globally.

Gold certificate for pioneering design

The RTA is the first entity in the world that has amassed the largest number of Gold certificates from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for a transport project with (v4 BD + C: NC) classification. This achievement is credited to a host of factors highlighted by selecting the best locations for stations, implementing strategies for saving the consumption of power and water, reducing carbon emissions, using suitable and recyclable building materials, and minimising construction waste.

Control centre

RTA’s Rail Operations Control Centre is one of the most sophisticated control centres in the world. It manages the daily operations of the metro service on the Red and Green lines 24/7. The process requires high-level accuracy and speed as well as compliance with the highest standards of safety, security, and convenience to riders. The centre assisted the Dubai Metro to achieve the highest international levels of safety, operational efficiency, and service punctuality. It also accelerated maintenance operations and decision-making and reduced potential malfunctions.