Hi from Dubai and Choooooo Chooooo to you.
The Dubai Metro officially opens today but the city’s commuters will have to wait another day before they can take a ride on the £4.5bn transport system.Its construction has been the emirate’s largest infrastructure project in more than a decade, and an army of overseas workers laboured day and night to meet the deadline as featured in this random slide show of how it all came together:
It is the world’s largest automated driverless train system – with just under 75km of magnetic track. The Metro will be able to carry up to 27,000 passengers in each direction every hour.
The carriages boast air conditioning, wi-fi and mobile phone reception while a gold class cabin with leather seats and plush pile carpets offers panoramic views at the front of the train. Sadly mountain bikes & surfboards will be banned and I’m not aware yet if coffee will be allowed!
Most commuters only care about its congestion-beating ability as this place was bumper to bumper before the economic crash. The ambitious project has had to defend a budget spike of 75% – with the estimated cost rising from an estimated $5 bn to about $9 bn. The Road and Transport Authority also announced that only 10 of the Metro’s 29 stations would be opened and we’ll have to wait unil March 2010 before the benefits of the system really kick in.
While Cairo and Tehran already have metro systems, Dubai’s network is the region’s first mass transport system in more than a decade. It ensures Dubai’s ambition to be the Middle East’s number one metropolis remains on track but is it sustainable considering the current economic climate?
So all aboard here for comments as the Dubai public transport system gets one step closer to reality. Mind the gap and share your view on public transport right here!