How much are the tickets?
Tickets will be rechargeable cards, which you can purchase from the vending machines in every station. There are four different colours: silver, blue, gold and red. A silver card costs Dhs20 (including Dhs14 of credit) and is designed for frequent travellers who just want to get from A to B. Individual fares then cost from Dhs1.80 to Dhs5.80. The blue card costs Dhs70 (including Dhs20 of credit) and is for people who want a personalised, secured card, complete with online services and loyalty programmes. Individual journeys with blue cards also cost from Dhs1.80 to Dhs5.80. The gold card is priced at Dhs20 (including Dhs14 of credit) and gets you access to the leather seats and carpeted Gold Class carriages. Gold fares then range from Dhs3.60 to Dhs11.60. Finally, a red ticket costs Dhs2 and earns you one trip – or you can pay Dhs4 for one trip in Gold.
Which stations are going to be open from September 10?
Ten of the Red Line’s 29 stops will be available from September 10 (official opening ceremony September 9): Nakheel Harbour & Tower, Mall of the Emirates, Financial Centre, Al Jafiliya, Khalid Bin Al Waleed, Union Square, Al Rigga, Deira City Centre, Airport T3 and Rashidiya Terminal.
What times will it be running?
From 6am-11pm, Saturday to Thursday, and from 2pm-midnight on Fridays. During peak hours they will run every three minutes and 45 seconds, although initially the frequency will be every 10 minutes.
Can you eat on the metro?
No – you will get fined Dhs100 for eating on a metro train.
What’s inside the stations?
Naturally the commercial potential of these sleek, pod-like hubs has not been missed. Inside them you will find shops, restaurants, coffee machines, banks, ATMs and first-aid trained station staff. And if you’re worried about crime, then fear not: a total of 3,000 CCTV cameras will keep an eye on Dubai Metro’s passengers.
What happens next?
The 19 stops that are not opening today should all be operating by February next year. Then, in June 2010, the Green Line – stretching from Jadaf on the Creek to Al Qusais – should open. The Red Line is also going to be extended, taking it to the Jebel Ali/Abu Dhabi border. In 2012 the Purple Line will link Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali (which should open June 2010). There are plans for a Blue Line to serve the two airports along Emirates Road and even a Yellow Line, but it’s unknown where this will run. Every stop will be served by buses, abras or water taxis, all with air-conditioned waiting areas. The whole caboodle should be in business by 2015.
What about the taxi drivers?
Surely taxi drivers will lose out on some custom due to the launch of the metro. What’s being done to compensate them?
Mansoor Al Falasi, director of franchise and monitoring at the Public Transport Agency responds:
‘The income of taxi drivers has actually increased by an average of Dhs1,500 over the past year, due to three main factors. Firstly, we introduced the Dhs20 charge to be added to the meter when customers want to go to Sharjah (a route that takes the driver through time-consuming extra traffic). Then there’s the fact that every meter is now tied to the amount of time a journey takes, rather than its distance, as well as the Dhs10 minimum fare charge for short trips. In a worst-case scenario, taxi drivers’ income has stabilised, rather than decreased. As for the metro impact; well, how much has the London Underground and the city’s transportation system impacted London cab drivers, for example? People will always take cabs when needed. We have thousands of beautiful buses and yet people are still taking cabs at their convenience. Customers now have more choices.’
The Wojhati Journey Planner
Input your starting point and destination into www.wojhati.rta.ae and the site provides details on different Dubai route options, journey times, the mode of transport you should use, traffic problems and fares. You get the whole route mapped out with little animations – even detailing walking routes to bus stops. Eventually you’ll be able to buy tickets and reserve taxis on the site.