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Dubai metro users will be able to park for free, in an effort to encourage drivers out of their cars and onto public transport

Ten out of ten for effort goes to Dubai Metro. The trains aren't even running yet, but operators are already trying to encourage Dubai's drivers to hop aboard, by offering free parking for commuters.

"The move is aimed at encouraging more people to park their private cars and use metro as part of our 'park and ride' campaign," said a senior official at the Rail Agency of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The official, however, clarified that the free parking facility would only be provided at the three major metro stations in Rashidiya, Al Qusais and Jumeirah Island.

The RTA has built huge parking complexes at the three major metro stations. A seven-storey parking lot has been built at the Rashidiya station, which is the final destination on the Red Line, while another parking lot that can accommodate 2,000 cars is being built at the Jumeirah Islands Station that serves the same line.

The biggest parking complex, with the capacity to hold 6,000 cars, is being built in Al Qusais station, which is the terminus for the Green Line. The complex will offer 50 per cent of the available parking space by the time the Green Line is launched next year while slots for another 3,000 cars will be built at a later stage after assessing the demand from commuters.

The three major parking complexes are being built at strategic locations with two of them in close proximity to Emirates Road to make it easier for motorists coming from Sharjah and other Northern Emirates.

The official said only metro ticket holders would be able to use the special parking areas at the three stations. About the price of the ticket, he said no decision had been taken but stressed that one of the criteria was to ensure that the facility was affordable to all segments of society.

"We have silver [economy class] and the Gold [VIP class] in each train," he said.

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