Dubai Extends Metro as Millions Switch to Public Transport

Dubai to spend US$4.9 billion on extension to successful Metro system to connect more residential communities to growing public transport system

Dubai, which has long been a city where the car is king, has made impressive moves to shift to more sustainable public transport in recent years.

Aside from eye-catching announcements regarding hyperloop technology and flying taxis, one undoubted success story has been the Dubai Metro – a predominantly overground train service that connects most of the city’s biggest districts and attractions.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) reports that more than 1.92 million people used public transport services (predominantly bus, taxi and Metro) every day in the emirate last year.

According to transport regulator RTA, Dubai Metro was the most popular mode of transport, serving 260 million riders in 2023, up 15% on 2022.

“December 2023 recorded an all-time high monthly ridership touching 64.9 million coinciding with the UAE’s hosting of COP 28, followed by October which saw 64.2 million riders, and November which recorded 64 million riders,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of RTA.

A total of 198.4 million people used taxis in Dubai in 2023, up 8%, with buses carrying 173.5 million riders. Boats carried 17.4 million, and the Dubai Tram – which serves the Dubai Marina district – serving 8.84 million passengers.

Now, Dubai intends to extend the Metro system beyond the traditional hotspots – including Dubai International Airport, Dubai Mall, and Dubai Marina – and research out to residential communities further inland and away from the original Metro route.

Dubai Metro Blue Line will link residential communities to existing network

Joining the established Red Line and Green Line will be the Blue Line – a 30km extension approved by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in November.

Dubai Metro Blue Line will have 14 stations – including five underground stations.

“RTA is consistently expanding and upgrading the public transport network. 2024 is set to mark the commencement of the Metro Blue Line project, which will stretch over a total of 30km, with 15.5km running underground and 14.5km above ground,” said Al Tayer.

This metro extension will cost AED18 billion (US$4.9 billion) with work to commence this year and completion slated as early as 2029.

The Dubai Metro is the world's longest driverless and fully automated rail network with a current length of 74.6 km. There are 49 stations at present, nine of them underground. 

In a bid to provide transport connectivity, each station has bus stops, taxi stops, and bicycle stands.

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