September 10, 2009
A new and record-setting rapid transit rail network in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city of Dubai began regular operations at 6:00 a.m. The actual debut of the Dubai Metro had taken place the previous night. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and executive of the Emirate of Dubai, attended the ceremony and formally inaugurated the network. Sheikh Mohammed had staunchly championed the construction of the Dubai Metro as a vital way to meet the daily needs of the area’s ever-growing population and in particular ease the commute of thousands of workers.
Peyman Younes Parham, who served as director of marketing and corporate communications for the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of the government of Dubai from 2008 to 2011, highlighted additional expectations for the system at the time of its opening. (RTA is responsible for the Dubai Metro and the city’s other public transportation services.) Peyman said, “When you talk about Dubai you talk about the seven-star hotel – the Burj Al Arab – or the Palm Island – the first man-made island – or the tallest building in the world – the Burj Dubai. We want the Metro to become a new icon and to connect all of these icons.”
Over 110,000 people – nearly 10 percent of Dubai’s population – traveled on the new network in its first two days of operation. Approximately 10 million passengers altogether rode on the Metro during the five months after it was launched. The network now covers a total of 46.4 miles (74.6 kilometers) and encompasses two lines (red and green) and 49 stations. All of the trains on the Metro are fully automated and driverless. The system is operated by the British public service provider Serco Group under contract with RTA.
The Dubai Metro was the first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula, and one of the earliest in the entire Arab world to go into service. During its first seven years of existence, it was the world’s longest driverless metro network. It now ranks third behind the Vancouver SkyTrain in Canada and the Mass Rapid Transit in Singapore in that category. With a length of 32.4 miles (52.1 kilometers), however, the Dubai Metro Red Line remains the longest driverless single metro line.
The Dubai Metro achieved yet another distinction in 2018 when the longest diverse human chain in the world was formed inside a train at Etisalat station on the network’s Green Line. People from 96 countries gathered on the train to join hands with each other. In doing so, these participants broke the record that had been set with the people from 75 countries who joined hands together in Norway in 2013.
For more information on the Dubai Metro, please check out https://www.dubai-online.com/transport/metro/ and https://www.railway-technology.com/projects/dubai-metro/.
Additional information on the record-setting diverse human chain formed onboard one of the Dubai Metro’s trains in 2018 is available at https://gulfnews.com/uae/transport/watch-dubai-metro-users-set-record-for-most-diverse-human-chain-1.2296500.