Tests mean delay for seven new Dubai Metro stations

The stations set to open at end of the month are Emirates, Airport Terminal 1, GGICO, Al Karama, World Trade Centre, Marina and Ibn Battuta.

Work in progress at the Ibn Battuta station.
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DUBAI // The opening of seven new metro stations has been postponed by five days, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said yesterday. The stations will not take passengers until April 30 because a dozen new trains are set to launch at the same time and require a few more days of testing, said Peyman Younes Parham, director of the RTA's corporate marketing and communications department.

He added that the remaining 11 stations on the Red Line would not open until October, more than a year after the line's first 10 stations opened, last September. The RTA announced last month that the seven stations would open on April 25. However, a source close to metro operations who wished to remain anonymous said yesterday that April 25 was the date the completed stations would be handed over to the metro's operators by Dubai Rail Link, the Japanese-led consortium which constructed the 52km Red Line.

"The next chance to open was the following weekend," the source said. The stations which are expected to open at the end of the month are Emirates, Airport Terminal 1, GGICO, Al Karama, World Trade Centre, Marina and Ibn Battuta. Ramadan Abdullah, who heads rail operations for the RTA's Rail Agency, said last month that the number of trains on the Red Line would increase to as many as 26 from the dozen that were put in service when operations began.

This, he said, would reduce maximum waiting times at stations from 10 minutes to six during rush hour. The metro's operating times are also being reviewed. The service stops at midnight and does not begin until 2pm on Fridays. Last summer, the RTA said all 29 stations would be open by February 10. But since the first 10 opened on September 9 it has opened only one additional station, at Burj Khalifa.

Completion of the Green Line was originally slated for last month, but was pushed back until the summer of 2011. The overall projected cost of both the Red and Green lines has risen from Dh15.5 billion (US$4.2bn) to an estimated Dh28bn. Once both tracks are complete, Dubai Metro will enter the record books as the world's longest driverless train system. Figures provided by the RTA indicated that 10 million passengers used the metro in its first five months.