RTA signs Dh680m Dubai Metro contract extension with UK’s Serco

Dubai Metro achieved record 204 million passenger journeys in 2018

Dubai Metro was the most popular mode of public transport. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority extended a contract with British company Serco to operate and maintain the metro transit system until September 2021.

The value of the contract is Dh680 million over a two-year period, the RTA said on Monday.

"The operation and maintenance by specialised companies reduces the operational costs of the metro as private businesses are able to provide high-quality service and performance at lower costs through continuous improvements and value engineering," said Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA.

“This allows RTA to focus on its core responsibilities of developing legislation and overseeing implementation and enforcement.”

Under its previous contract with the RTA, Serco delivered strong operational performance levels for Dubai Metro, he added, with a train service availability of 99.9 per cent and punctuality of 99.8 per cent, and a record 204 million journeys in 2018.

The RTA’s introduction of new rail operation technologies also contributed to achieving these indicators, the chairman said.

Under the contract, Serco will provide operational and maintenance services to both lines of the Dubai Metro as well as the under-construction Route 2020, which covers the 15-kilometre extension of the Red Line to the Expo 2020 site. The service is expected to start as a trial in February next year.

The contract includes the operation and maintenance of all metro assets such as trains, railways and stations. Serco is also contracted to provide passenger transit services according to daily demands, and to maintain fare systems and collect the proceeds of selling and recharging Nol Cards. The card is an electronic ticketing system that was launched in 2009 for use on all modes of public transport in Dubai.

Serco will also help recruit and train Emirati employees as part of the government’s Emiratisation local employment policy.

“The RTA is keen to qualify Emiratis and the transfer of knowledge of international expertise in the operation and maintenance of rail systems, a new field for the region,” Mr Al Tayer said.

Rupert Soames, group chief executive of Serco, said the renewal of the contact demonstrates “the high confidence the RTA has in Serco to continue delivering world-class levels of safety, operational performance and customer service".

A Dubai government-commissioned study last September found that the Dubai Metro system, which began operations almost a decade ago, added an estimated Dh66 billion to Dubai’s economy by 2016. Accumulated future returns are set to exceed four times what it cost to build the metro by 2030, the report said.