DUBAI // The announcement that work will start this year on Dubai’s Metro extension was welcomed by residents, although they were divided over whether it will change the travel habits of those living in areas the new line will pass through.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) recently announced that construction of the 15-kilometre extension of Dubai Metro’s Red Line, from Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to the Expo 2020 site, would begin in the final quarter of this year.
The project is estimated to cost Dh 10.6 billion.
Dubbed Route 2020, it is estimated the new line will be able to carry 46,000 riders per hour in both directions. The extension will have seven stations, five above ground and two underground, with an expansive airplane wing the main design inspiration for the stations.
The project will cover areas such as the Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Jumeirah Golf Estates, and Dubai Investments Park communities, serving about 270,000 residents and office workers.
Wazir Ali, who works in construction, said he would prefer the Metro over his car to commute to his office in Dubai Investments Park from his home in Deira.
“I spend almost three hours on the road while going to the office and coming back, which is so frustrating. I am anxiously waiting for the Metro.
“The moment it starts operations, I will leave my car and use the Metro,” said the 42-year-old Indian.
Huraira Gohar, who lives in Furjan, also feels that it will be a great relief for those who do not drive.
“We are excited about it, especially my mother and mother-in-law because they would be able to travel without us being there,” said the 40-year-old Indian marketing professional and mother of two.
“Kids can go for short shopping trips to meet friends. It is safer compared to a taxi and they learn social skills.”
On the other side, there are other residents who believe that despite this being a positive development, the expanded service is unlikely to change their travel habits.
“No doubt, the Metro will have an impact and for some people more than others,” said British national Hesham Ghaleb, 36, who lives in Al Furjan.
“This will particularly benefit those who live and work around Discovery Gardens, which is very congested during rush hour. People will use the metro for short distances, such as going to Ibn Battuta Mall.”
But Mr Ghaleb said it was wishful thinking that people would stop using their cars.
“Public transport, excluding taxis, currently does not cover all of Dubai. Added to it is the Dubai weather, especially in the hot summer months, which does not favour public transport.”
Another benefit will be hassle-free trips to both Dubai’s airports, especially Al Makhtoum International Airport, he said.
Noorain Humair, who also lives in Discovery Gardens, did not expect to see a change in the daily transport habits of most people.
“Metro won’t cover those places which are in my routine travelling, such as school pickup and drop-off,” She said. “So it’s unlikely many of us will stop using the car and ride on the Metro.”
The 28-year-old Pakistani said a major factor would be where the new stations are sited. “If I have to take out the car to reach the Metro station then what’s the use?
“In most parts of the year in Dubai, one cannot walk in the sun, especially with young kids or older parents.”
She also feared the Metro extension may cause rents to soar, which she said would not be good news for many Discovery Garden tenants.
One estate agent said residents should not expect immediate hikes in rents and property prices.
“I don’t see any change in the near future. But once the Metro is ready and fully operational then there is a chance of rental hikes and property prices, especially in those areas, which are in walking distance to the Metro stations,” said Iqbal Mohammed, a consultant at Starwood properties in Dubai.