Dubai: Some Dubai Metro commuters have been advised to allot additional time for travel on weekends as the partial closure on the red line has kicked off.
The partial shutdown of Dubai Metro’s red line between Jumeirah Lakes Towers station and Ibn Battuta station has just started, to pave way for crews to extend the route to the Dubai World Expo 2020 site.
The closure of the section is scheduled for ten weekends, on Fridays and Saturdays, and will end on October 14 this year.
Mohammed Al Mudharreb, director for rail operations at RTA, said the closure will only have a minimal impact on the commuting public, since passenger traffic on weekends is usually low.
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It is estimated that approximately less than 5,000 passengers use the affected routes on a non-busy Friday or Saturday, merely a fraction of the more than 9.8 million commuters that use the metro on a monthly basis.
“[In the UAE Exchange direction], around 1,400 passengers [travel] in that particular day and also we have around 1,900 passengers on the Radishiya [direction],” said Mudharreb.
Affected sections are Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Nakheel Harbour and Ibn Battuta stations. “The closure is happening during the weekend and those three stations have relatively low ridership [on Fridays and Saturdays),” Mudharreb said.
“We are asking our passengers to allocate up to 20 minutes additional time for them to complete their journey because [the travel time] really depends on the traffic situation around those areas. It can take up to 20 minutes to reach to their final destination,” the RTA official added.
If commuters really have to travel during the weekend closure, they have the option to take shuttle buses to their destination, free of charge.
“The RTA has provided free shuttle buses as a compensation for the disruption that will happen in those metro stations,” said Mudharreb.
Work on the extension of the red line is part of the Route 2020 project, a 15-kilometre extension that starts from Nakheel Harbour and connects the existing network with the site of the World Expo.
At least 50 trains are currently being built in France to add to the Dubai Metro fleet. Out of the new trains, 15 will be used to serve Expo 2020, while the other 35 units will be added to the main Dubai Metro system.