Metro station name auction nets Dh1.8bn

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority has begun to unveil the names of the city's new metro stations.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - March 31: Construction work on the Dubai Metro transportation project at the Nakheel Station in Dubai on March 31, 2008. ( Randi Sokoloff / The National ) *** Local Caption *** RS001-Metrostation.jpg
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DUBAI // At least 19 of Dubai Metro's 47 stations will be named after private companies and brands in sponsorship deals worth Dh1.8 billion, officials said. The figure represents more than 10 per cent of the overall Dh15.5bn cost of the project. First Gulf Bank Station, Sharaf DG Station and Mall of the Emirates Station will be on the red line, which opens in September, while the green line, which is due to open in 2010, will include Etisalat Station and Dubai Airport Freezone Station. Several companies and government entities that have sponsored the stations have also contributed to the cost of building them. Emirates Airline has helped build Emirates Station near the airport, while the property developer Emaar has put money into the Burj Dubai Station. Altogether, up to 250 companies have applied to have metro stations named after them. Some stops, particularly in the older part of the city, are to be given traditional names based on the area in which they are located. "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] gave us clear instructions to give the main stations national names which reflect the national identity," said Mattar al Tayer, the chairman of the board and executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority. "Secondary stations will be named after companies. This is a national project and national identity is a very important factor for us, but that does not prevent us from using some of these stations to finance the metro project." He said negotiations were under way with other companies and that more names would be unveiled in due course. He said the cost of sponsorship was dependent on the size and relative importance of each station. "The value is based on a range of criteria, including how many people will use the station, so for example terminals at the beginning and end of each line will have a higher value." A source at the RTA said he thought that 16 metro stations would be given national names, while 31 names would eventually be sold to companies. "There will be firms who wanted one particular station and didn't get it, but they may come back and say they are now interested in one of the others," he said. "Given the financial crisis, we are very fortunate to bring in the partners that we've got - it is very brave of them to come in at this time. I think they are looking to the future - when a place is named it often takes decades for that name to change in the minds of the public, so this is a long-term investment." He said that if the ongoing financial troubles caused irreparable damage to any of the companies involved, there were contingencies in place to enable the name to be altered. "We have backup plans. There were 250 companies that applied for the privilege of having their name on a station, so changes could be made."

Red Line Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station, Jumeirah Lake Towers Station, Nakheel Station, TECOM Station, Sharaf DG Station, Mall of the Emirates Station, First Gulf Bank Station, Business Bay Station, Burj Dubai Station, Emirates Towers Station, Deira City Centre Station, GGICO (Gulf General Investment Company) Station, and Emirates Station. Green Line Etisalat Station, Dubai Airport Free Zone Station, Palm Deira Station, Bani Yas Station, Al Ras Station, Al Ghubaiba Station, Dubai Health Care City Station, Jaddaf Station and Creek Station.