The world’s longest fully automated, driverless metro system is now operating in Dubai.
The US$7.6 billion-dollar project, which took 30,000 foreign workers four years to finish, runs for 52km with the initial Red Line stopping at 10 stations out of the planned 29 stations. It features separate compartments for First Class passengers and for women and children. Wireless internet is offered in each car. Fares range from 50 cents to US$3.50.
Questions about whether the new transport option will change the car culture (Dubai has a reported 1 million cars and petrol is only 25 cents a litre) have surfaced, but the government is convinced it is essential to raise Dubai’s profile as an international financial and tourism hub – an undeniable asset now the global recession seems to be bottoming out and business is improving albeit slowly.
Concerns about how to lure people out of their vehicles and onto the metro when it’s 40 degrees and without them suffering a heat stroke have been answered by huge, air-conditioned pedestrian bridges and a flotilla of transit buses. The second subway line will open in summer of 2010.
The opening of Burj Dubai, the world’s next tallest building which was supposed to have made its debut on the same day, has been postponed to December.
For more details about Dubai metro, visit www.dubaimetro.eu
Margie T Logarta