Hot seat: Ramadan Abdullah Mohammed

Lack of public transport is a daily dilemma for a huge number of Dubai’s residents. So when is this Metro going to be complete? And will it make any difference? <em>Time Out</em> spoke to Ramadan Abdullah Mohammed, the RTA’s director of rail projects to find out.

Hot seat, The Knowledge

Dubai suffers from chronic traffic congestion – do you think the metro can help to alleviate these problems?
The RTA is developing a comprehensive plan to accommodate the projected increase in traffic. We are working towards the development of an integrated transport network so people can be encouraged to use public transport and reduce their dependency on private vehicles. Currently only five per cent of the total population uses public transport. Studies show that there is one car per 1.84 residents and by increasing public transport, like the Dubai Metro, we hope to reduce the congestion by 12 to 17 per cent.

Tell us about some of the things that are going to make the metro special?
The Dubai Metro is the first of its kind in the region with outstanding state-of-the art internal design. The themes of the stations’ interiors – earth, water, wind and fi re – and the originality of the station exteriors will give the Metro a sense of Dubai’s heritage and modern architecture. There will be a railway station every one-and-a-half kilometres on average, which will make commuting smooth and encourage trade and tourism in Dubai.

Is it true this new system will be a record breaker?
The Metro will be the longest automated metro system to be completed in one single phase.

Has it been particularly tough to build and to look after?
Building the Metro through the busy streets of Dubai is a feat in itself. Dubai Metro is in a race to achieve a never before attempted milestone – building a 70-kilometre stretch of rail corridor in four years fl at. Currently, we have 70 per cent of the work on the Red Line completed. The expected date of completion is around September 9, 2009 for the first phase which is the Red Line and March 10, 2010 for the second-phase Green Line. The tunnelling on the Red Line has been completed according to schedule while the erection of viaducts on the Red Line is soon scheduled to be completed. Looking after the look of the stations will be a challenge, but we are prepared for the extreme conditions and dust storms that occur in Dubai.

We spotted a news story that suggested the names of train stations were being offered to corporate sponsors. Is there any truth in this?
Naming rights will be offered to local and international companies wanting to anchor their association with Dubai. Each of the 23 stations available will have a unique value, calculated according to its location, anticipated passenger numbers and other variable factors.

Will there be enough parking spaces?
There will be park and ride facilities on the Red Line for 3,000 cars in Rashidiya Depot and Jumeirah Islands respectively, while on the Green Line there will be park and ride facilities for 6,000 vehicles at the Al Qusais Depot. Park and ride facilities will also be provided at various Metro stations.

Will the stations be air conditioned?
Yes the stations will be airconditioned.

Roughly how often will the trains be?
The frequency of trains will be every 3 minutes and 45 seconds during peak times and 7 minutes during off-peak times.

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