Dubai Metro: A Model of Modern Outlook

Abdullah Al-Awadhi: Dubai Metro: A Model of Modern Outlook

  • 28 October 2009

Launched on 09/09/09, the Dubai Metro Project is a unique achievement not only for the UAE, but also for the whole region. It is the first rail project of its kind in the Arab Gulf region and has the distinction of having the longest automated driverless train in the world. Employing state-of-the-art technology, it is the most significant addition to the country’s mass transit system. It redresses many problems related to traffic congestion that had become the staple of many newspapers and publications for some time now.

This project is a natural corollary to the big boom in the UAE’s real estate sector, which has led to the city’s exponential growth and development. The UAE citizens and residents, as well as people visiting the country from all over the world, may find it difficult to comprehend the pace and breadth of development the country is set to reach. The UAE’s achievements would have been difficult to attain without a guiding vision and willingness to remove the obstacles that come in the way. Again, it would have been difficult to achieve, if it was not for the determination of the wise leadership of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the other Emirates.

The issue is bigger than just being a project for changing the face of Dubai, a city that has dazed other countries and societies that have made slower progress, despite having abundant wealth. The issue is related to leadership and its willingness to embrace innovation and distinction in all fields. Rising above conventional practices and adopting innovative and ingenious solutions to confront problems has helped the UAE in attaining the boundless achievements in a limited time. This is the result of strategies, which look into the future in the present.

When we claim there is a clear vision and a detailed strategy meant to accord with the stature of the UAE on its ascent toward globalization, we mean what we say. The UAE is not just concerned with local or regional matters. It is busy attaining leading positions in the world, even if the concerns relate to local issues. The UAE is enjoying an opportune moment in its history to prove its leadership status and to surpass all regional constraints.

Undoubtedly, the launch of the Metro project addressed a domestic concern because the real estate and construction boom witnessed by the UAE, and particularly by Dubai, required novel and innovative approaches to confront issues related to the rapid expansion, such as commutation. From the beginning, the focus has been on constructing bridges and tunnels to develop infrastructure and ease the flow of traffic. As this traffic problem continued, the need arose for a new project, which according to officials, could facilitate smooth flow of traffic and reduce the extent of losses to the economy caused by traffic congestion. This estimated loss was to the tune of $5 billion annually. The other reason for launching the project was to reduce pollution levels and safeguard the environment from the harmful gases emitted by vehicles, by building a mass transit system like the Metro that runs on clean electric power. No doubt, the setting up of a special institution for regulating trains throughout the country will achieve the same objectives, and would strengthen ties between the different emirates. Consequently, the success of the Dubai Metro would serve as an important indicator for the success of the rail network project to be built in the country.

We now turn to the crucial point pertaining to those who had claimed that the Dubai Metro Project would never see the light of day because of financial and economic reasons. The launch of the Metro project on September 9, 2009 was a fitting response to such detractors, who wanted to sow despair into the hearts of those supporting development in the country with the help of modern technology. The project has strengthened hopes for a brighter future as the project turned out to be more remarkable than anticipated.

Where is the traffic that we used to hear about on the streets of Dubai, even though the city is as modern as New York and busy as Bangkok! Through this new artery, a new dose of life has been infused into the heart of the economic capital of the country. The Metro is shuttling thousands of people to their destinations on a daily basis.  Although the operating capacity has not yet reached full steam, it is clear to everybody that detractors are in for huge disappointment. How would they feel, when this project is completed in February 2010 and when from the periphery it reaches into the heart of Dubai!

This accomplishment has become landmark of civilization and is facilitating the daily movement of people. For this reason, some people started criticizing “Metro” from the beginning. However, this accomplishment would become the center for self-sustaining and permanent development in the country. The right-minded would understand that the project would complete an integrated modern communication network that would relieve Dubai of the traffic bottlenecks and lead to easy flow of traffic in all the areas of the UAE.

The viability of this project was manifest in a few weeks since its launch. It had already carried more than one million passengers in a short span of time and this number is set to increase, when the facility opens its other lines. We can confidently say that the Metro traffic in Dubai would rival aviation traffic throughout the country. This is in itself is a practical reply to all those who thought that the project would be badly hit by the international financial crisis.

Undoubtedly, the success of this project gives a fillip to other railway projects planned in the UAE and the region. One such project is currently underway following the issuance the President His Highness’ decree on the formation of a board for a railway establishment for achieving the vision of the leadership in this important field. The preliminary cost of this project ranges between AED25-30 billion for the establishment and construction of 1100km that represents the length of the railway that will link the Ghoweyfat center at the border of Saudi Arabia in the west to the border-lying areas of Oman in the east. It is expected that the implementation would start in 2010 and would continue for almost seven years, and would be connected to the Gulf train project being built at the cost of around $25 billion (AED92 billion) and expected to be operational in 2017. What raises our confidence in this project is that those who are guiding the country are men who think of a better future by employing all possible modern standards. As for the unwarranted disparaging remarks, they would disappear as foam in the sea.