The Dubai Metro (Arabic: مترو دبي‎) is a rapid transit rail network in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Red Line and Green Line are operational, with three further lines planned. These first two lines run underground in the city centre and on elevated viaducts elsewhere (elevated railway).[3] All trains are fully automated and driverless, and, together with stations, are air conditioned with platform edge doors to make this possible. Architecture firm Aedas designed the metro's 45 stations, two depots and operational control centres.[4] The Al Ghurair Investment group were the metro's builders.[5]

The first section of the Red Line, covering 10 stations, was ceremonially inaugurated at 9:09:09 pm on 9 September 2009, by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai,[6] with the line opening to the public at 6 am (UTC 04:00) on 10 September.[7] The Dubai Metro is the first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula[8] and either the second in the Arab World (after the Cairo Metro) or the third (if the surface-level, limited-service Baghdad Metro is counted). A major expansion of the Red Line to add 15 kilometres of track and extend it from Ibn Battuta to the Expo 2020 site was announced in April 2015.[9]

More than 110,000 people, or nearly 10 percent of Dubai’s population, used the Metro in its first two days of operation.[10] The Dubai Metro carried 10 million passengers from launch on 9 September 2009 to 9 February 2010 with 11 stations operational on the Red Line.[11] Engineering consultancy Atkins provided full multidisciplinary design and management of the civil works on Dubai Metro.[12][13]

Until 2016, the Dubai Metro was the world's longest driverless metro network with a route length of 75 kilometres (47 mi), as recognized by Guinness World Records in 2012.[14] However, its total route length have since been surpassed by the fully automated driverless Vancouver SkyTrain and Singapore MRT. Nevertheless, the Red Line, at 52.1 kilometres (32.4 mi), remains the world's longest driverless single metro line.[15]


Jebel Ali station (now UAE Exchange) under construction in May 2008
Ibn Battuta Mall station on the Red line

Planning of the Dubai Metro began under the directive of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who expected other projects to attract 15 million visitors to Dubai by 2010.[citation needed] The combination of a rapidly growing population (expected to reach 3 million by 2017) and severe traffic congestion necessitated the building of an urban rail system to provide additional public transportation capacity, relieve motor traffic, and provide infrastructure for additional development.[citation needed]

In May 2005, a AED 12.45 billion/US$3.4 billion design and build contract was awarded to the Dubai Rail Link (DURL) consortium made up of Japanese companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation, Obayashi Corporation, Kajima Corporation and Turkish firm Yapı Merkezi,[16] and the Project Management ('The Engineer') and Construction Management services contract awarded to a French-American joint venture between Systra and Parsons Corporation. The first phase (worth AED 15.5 billion/US$4.2 billion) covers 35 kilometres (22 mi) of the proposed network, including the Red Line between Al Rashidiya and the Jebel Ali Free Zone[17] set for completion by September 2009[18] and the Green Line from Al Qusais 2 to Al Jaddaf 1. This was to be completed by June 2010.[19] A second phase contract was subsequently signed in July 2006 and includes extensions to the initial routes. The Red Line partially opened at 9 minutes and 9 seconds past 9 pm on 9 September 2009 (9/9/9 9:9:9), inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.[20]

Cost issues

The construction cost of the Dubai Metro project has shot up by about 80 per cent from the original AED 15.5 billion/US$4.2 billion to AED 28 billion/US$7.8 billion.[21] The authorities contradicted this, saying that the cost of the project did not overshoot. They attributed the increase in expenditure to the major changes in the scope and design of the project. The authorities also expect to generate AED 18 billion/US$4.9 billion in income over the next 10 years; but they speculate that the Metro would not be a profit-making enterprise, since the fares would be subsidised.[citation needed]


Dubai Metro Red Line Viaduct on 22 November 2007

Work officially commenced on the construction of the metro on 21 March 2006.[22] In February 2009, a top RTA Rail Agency official said the US$4.2 billion Dubai Metro project would be completed on schedule despite the global crisis.[23] However, only 10 out of 29 metro stations of the red line opened on 9 September 2009.[19]

Construction of the 18 stations on the red line and another 18 on the green line restarted on 7 February 2010, according to contractors, after a settlement was reached with a Japanese-led consortium over disputed payments of about US$2 billion-US$3 billion.[citation needed] Construction of all 29 metro stations on the Red Line was declared complete on 28 April 2010 by the acting chief of the RTA Rail Agency.

Seven more stations on the Dubai Metro Red Line opened on 30 April 2010. Ten new trains were pressed into service, giving a total of 22 trains in service when the stations opened. The seven stations are, Emirates Station, Airport Terminal 1 Station, Dubai Internet City (TECOM) Station, Al Karama Station, Emirates Towers Station, Marina Station and Ibn Battuta Station. In addition to this, a further three stations were opened on 15 May 2010; Al Quoz Station, GGICO Station and World Trade Center Station. Furthermore, Business Bay Station, First Gulf Bank (Burj Al Arab/Gold and Diamond Park) Station, Sharaf DG (Al Barsha) Station, Nakheel (Emirates Golf Club) Station and Jumeirah Lakes Towers Station were opened on 15 October 2010. After much delay, Jebel Ali Station, the terminus of the Red Line on the Abu Dhabi side was opened on 11 March 2011,[24] and Jebel Ali Industrial Station, renamed Danube Station, was opened on 12 December 2012.[25][26] The final two stations, Al Jadaf and Creek, on the Green Line were opened on 1 March 2014.[27]


A station on the Red Line

The Dubai Metro is operated by Serco under contract to the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.[28]

Red Line trains run every 7 minutes off-peak (averaging 8.5 trains per hour), with a minimum headway of 3 minutes 45 seconds (16 trains per hour) during peak hours, with 44 trainsets in service. From 2010, when 51 trains were in service, the line had a peak-hour capacity of 11,675 passengers per hour in each direction. As of September 2014, the Red Line operates 60 trains (train registrations 5001-5045, 5065-5079) The theoretical maximum design capacity is 25,720 passengers per hour, which would require 106 trains.[citation needed]

The Green Line had an initial capacity of 6,395 passengers per hour per direction, with 19 trains (train registrations 5046-5064) in service as of September 2014. The design capacity of this route is put at 13,380 passengers per hour with 60 trains in service.[29]


Over 280,000 passengers used the Dubai Metro during the first week of its operation.[30]

Before launch, Dubai Municipality Public Transport Department expected the metro to provide transport for 12% of all trips in Dubai. After the first month of operation (on a limited network), the monthly total was 1,740,578 passengers, which equates to under 60,000 passengers/day.[31] After the opening of more stations in May 2010, ridership surged to 103,002 passengers/day and reached 130,000/day by the beginning of October 2010. When the Green Line opened on 9 September 2011, passengers on the Red Line was noted as 180,000/day. In 2013, passengers rose to 377,000/day, split 64% for the Red line and 36% for the Green Line.[32] During the first half of 2015, RTA announced that 88,252,034 passengers have used the metro.[33] In August 2017, RTA announced that total ridership since 2009 had surpassed 1 billion passengers.

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 H1
Lines 1 1 2 2 2 2 2
Kilometres 74.6
Trips (Red Line) 104,961 115,670
Trips (Green Line) 93,795 94,189
Trips (Total) 198,756 209,759
Passengers (Red Line) 6,892,544 38,887,718 60,024,794 71,914,000 88,886,539 104,000,000[34] 55,783,626[33]
Passengers (Green Line) 8,982,256 37,576,000 48,872,719 60,289,000[34] 32,468,408[33]
Passengers (Total) 6,892,544 38,887,718 69,007,050 109,490,000 137,759,258 164,307,000[34] 88,252,034[33]

One issue for the new system will be how to reliably and comfortably get riders to their final destination if it is not located at a metro station. The RTA has changed and added "feeder bus routes" which act as shuttle services to and from major locations in and around the station area. There are bus and taxi laybys constructed as well as drop off zones at each station for ease of passenger access.[35]

In addition 268 km of light rail lines are also planned, these will serve as feeders to the Dubai Metro. The Dubai Tram is one of the light rail plans.[35]


Map of Dubai Metro. Stations in black ■ are open, stations in white □ are not. Dashed lines are under construction, dotted lines were planned as of December 2011
Map of existing and proposed lines, as of January 2013

The first two lines of the Dubai Metro have 70 kilometres (43 mi) of lines, and 47 stations (including nine underground stations).[36]

The Roads and Transport Authority's masterplan includes 421 kilometres (262 mi) of metro lines up to 2030 to cater to the expected above 4.1 million population of the city. There are plans for 268 kilometres (167 mi) of light rail tracks to act as a feeder system for the Metro, although only the Al Sufouh Tramway is under construction as of January 2013. The fate of this entire network – which would reportedly be divided into Blue, Purple, Pink and Gold lines – is now dependent on an economic recovery and private investment.[37]



In 2011, the RTA stated that there are no "immediate plans" to build the Blue and Purple lines "in the next five or six years".[38]

In 2013, the RTA laid out a three phase plan to expand the existing lines and build new ones: extending the Green Line by 12 stations and 24 kilometres (15 mi) to Academic City by 2020; expanding the overall system by 58 stations and 91 kilometres (57 mi) by 2025 and completing expansion with a total of 69 stations and 221 km over and above the present 47 stations and 70 kilometres (43 mi) that are present as of January 2013.

  • Purple Line: along Al Khail Road.[39] There will be about eight stations, three with check in facilities. However, The Dubai Airports claimed that this was unfeasible as it did not pass through many localities. They however suggested opting for a "central terminal" similar to those in Europe where trains leave from inside the airport to the other airport with trains also leaving to the city. The RTA have taken this into consideration.[citation needed]
  • Blue Line: along Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.[39]
  • Pink Line. The Pink Line is planned to run east-west with a terminus at Al Sufouh and is scheduled for completion by 2030.[40]
  • Gold Line: Announced as the 'Yellow Line' in April 2008 and confirmed in January 2013 as the 'Gold Line'.[35] One of the stations planned for the Gold Line is the Dubai Land Station, west of Meydaan.[41] The Gold Line will connect Arabian Ranches, Deira, and Dubai Marina and is scheduled to open by 2025.[40]
  • Red Line Extension: 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi) and six new stations, terminating at the border with Abu Dhabi. No dates for completion announced.[42]
  • Green Line Extension: The line could be further extended by 11 km from Al Jaddaf to International City under the Green Line extension project.[43]

In 2014, the RTA approved the recent proposal of extending the red line from Al Rashidiya station to Mirdif City Center which will increase 3.5 kilometer with the new station. However, there is also a proposal to extend it further to Al Warqa’a which is currently being studied.[citation needed]

On the green line, the RTA has finalized the extension plan of 20.6 kilometer from Al Jaddaf to Academic City. The extension will go through Festival City, Lagoons, Ras Al Khor Industrial Area, International City, Silicon Oasis and Dubai Academic City.[44]

Summary of complete and proposed lines

Line Terminals Original proposed
completion date
Construction started Opened Length Stations Trip time [45] Average speed Cost [46] Cost/km US$
Rashidiya -
Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Ibn Batutta - UAE Exchange
Sept 2009 August 2005 [47] 9 Sept 2009 (10 stations)
April 2010(+18 stations)
Sept 2013 (+1 station)
52.1 km
(5 km underground)
(all open)
69 – 70 minutes 47 km/hr AED28.0b
US$7.6b [21]
Green Line Etisalat -
Dubai Creek
March 2010 [35] July 2006 [48] 9 Sep 2011 (18 stations)
March 1, 2014 (+2 stations) [49]
22.5 km
(8 km underground)
(all open)
39 – 40 minutes 38 km/hr
Purple Line (proposed) Dubai International Airport -
Al Maktoum International Airport
by 2012 [35] No immediate plans [38] Proposed 49 km [35] 8
(0 open) [35]
unknown unknown US$2.73bn [38] 55.7m
Blue Line (proposed) Dubai International Airport -
Al Maktoum International Airport
by 2013 [50] No immediate plans [38] Proposed 47 km [35] 18? unknown unknown unknown unknown


Dubai Metro Gold Class. The price of this section is twice that of the silver class.
Interior of a train

Dubai Metro is composed of at-grade (G) elevated Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 (T1, T2 and T3, respectively) underground stations (U) and underground transfer station types (UT). Type 1 is the regular at-grade concourse station, Type 2 is a regular elevated concourse station, and Type 3 is an elevated special track station with an extra track to hold a non operational train. Underground transfer stations will be accommodating both the Red and Green lines for easy transfers.

Besides these differences, there are five themes used in the interiors of the stations:[51]

  1. Heritage: Symbolizes the culture and history of the United Arab Emirates.
  2. Earth: Marks the start of the Dubai modern and urban drive, which resembles the force and durability of earth and soil.
  3. Air: Symbolizes the elation and joy that Dubai provides to residents and visitors.
  4. Fire: Symbolizes the energy, vigor and the strong will displayed by Dubai leaders.
  5. Water: Symbolizes the human values which Dubai seeks to ensure in its modern achievements.

The Earth stations have a tan-brown colour effects; water has blue-white colour effects; fire has orange-red colour effects; and the air has green colour effects.[52][53]

Officials are negotiating with international and local companies over naming rights for 23 stations on the two lines. This corporate branding is the first of its kind.[54]


The Dubai Metro has built three large multi-level car parking with an estimated capacity to accommodate more than 8,000 vehicles for the passengers where they can park their car and ride the metro.

Stations Line Spaces
Rashidiya Metro Station Red Line 2700 cars
Nakheel Harbour and Tower Metro Station Red Line 3000 cars
Etisalat Metro Station Green Line 2300 cars

The parking is free for the metro users.

Handicapped facilities

All metro stations have contrasting tactile guidance path to guide the visually impaired. There are also dedicated spaces for wheelchair users on all the trains.


Platform screen doors with corresponding flashing light signals are installed at every station for the safety of the passengers.


Wi-Fi connectivity is available across all trains and stations which and is provided by du which is in par with the Wi-Fi UAE program which provides Wi-Fi connectivity across major parts of UAE. Mobile phone coverage is available across the entire network of the metro. The metros itself has Wi-Fi connectivity inside for the commuters to access with 2-tiers of internet access with the normal service being free whereas the premium service can be access by a nominal fee[55]

Passengers also have emergency voice communication with train staff at the control room through a speaker system.

Tram integration

On 11 November 2014 onward, the Dubai Tram integrated with Dubai Metro at the Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers stations. Footbridges are connected and provide a direct link between the two adjacent tram and metro stations for a smooth and seamless interchange for passengers between the two systems.


The Dubai Transport is divided into 4 tiers (5 zones). The prices were slightly increased as of 11 November 2014. The cheapest ticket (not preloaded, and not in the "gold" class) with distance not more than 3 km cost 3 AED (about $0.82) - equivalent of Tier 0, and most costly single trip (Tier 3, exceed 2 zones, and paper not preloaded ticket also) 7.5 AED (about $2.04) and was not increased from opening. Dubai Metro fares are among the cheapest metro fares in the world. Tier 1 is one zone trip, where the travel exceeds 3 km, Tier 2 is neighboring 2 zones travel. Also (excluding Gold class) using cards there is "no more paying" - a free rest of day travel if cost exceeds 14 AED (about $3.81).[56][57]


The Dubai Metro has a fixed fare based on 3 tiers. The tiers are

Tiers Number of Zones
Tier 1 Within 1 zone or less than 3 zones, crossing 2 zones
Tier 2 Starts in 1 zone and ends in neighboring zone
Tier 3 Crosses 3 or more zones

The Nol Card are used by the passengers to check-in and check-out at the gates in their destination station. The fare will be automatically deducted based on the number of zones traveled. Passengers will be allowed to check-in when their card has more than minimum credit required.

Children below the age of 5 years or less than 90 cm and people with disabilities (personalized Nol Card required) will be eligible to travel the metro for free.

There is also a Nol Card available for students & seniors, and they can get a student & senior citizens' discount.


Train 5001, the first train delivered to Dubai on the Red Line
A train on trial in February 2009

Japanese manufacturer Kinki Sharyo built a total of 79 five-car trains (60 on Red Line, 19 on Green Line).[58] They are designed to carry 643 seated and standing passengers, and unusually for a mass transit system, the trains have three classes of accommodation: Gold Class (first class), Women and Children class (a classification that is extended to a greater number of cars during the peak hours), and regular Silver Class (economy).[59] The first train (5001) was delivered to Dubai in March 2008.[58] The metro has driverless operation and uses third rail current collection. Trained wardens accompany passengers to help with emergencies.[60] The four newer trains (5074, 5075, 5076, and 5077) are each painted with a different special livery, in which one of them (train 5077) representing the skyline of Dubai.[61]


To permit fully automated operation, Thales Rail Signalling Solutions is supplying its SelTrac IS communications-based train control and NetTrac central control technology. This is configured for a minimum headway of 90 seconds (40 trains per hour). The top speed of the trains is estimated to be around 95 km/h, giving a round-trip time of 2 hours 23 minutes for the Red Line and 1 hours 23 minutes for the Green Line.[citation needed]

Incidents and accidents

  • 9 September 2009 (2009-09-09): On the first day of operation, one metro train broke down and passengers were stranded for two hours before being picked up by a second train.[62]
  • 28 February 2010 (2010-02-28): Thousands of commuters were affected after part of Dubai Metro's Red Line was closed after a small fire on the track. A section of the Red Line between Al Jafiliya Station near Za'abeel Park and Terminal 3 Station was shut at around 7 pm and remained closed until Monday morning. Trains were evacuated at Burjuman (formerly Khalid Bin Al Waleed), Union Station and Al Rigga Station. A Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) spokesman confirmed there was smoke on the underground track between Union and Burjuman Station. However, RTA officials remained tight-lipped about what had caused the incident.[63]
  • 25 December 2011 (2011-12-25): Passengers reported that some trains stalling and others moving ‘at snail’s pace’ due to technical problems. The RTA confirmed that both the Red and Green lines of the metro were running slow, in both directions, due to "some technical issues".[64]
  • 3 December 2012 (2012-12-03): The Dubai Metro saw its first death when a man committed suicide by lying down on the metro tracks and was run over by the automated train.[65]
  • 12 August 2014 (2014-08-12): Commuters on a segment of the Dubai Metro’s Red Line were stranded after a train (registered 5075) stopped between Al Karama and Al Jafiliya stations during peak hours following a technical snag at around 7 pm. According to a Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official, the train on the Red Line experienced an electrical failure, causing the metro to stall operations between the Union and Business Bay metro stations leaving 2000 passengers stranded. The Green Line operated as usual. The passengers stranded in the train broke emergency door lever glass cover and opened the door as there was no air conditioning available and walked to Al Karama Metro Station by walking on the viaduct. Two hours later, the Metro services were fully restored.[66]
  • 29 October 2014 (2014-10-29): In late evening, commuters on the Dubai Metro were stranded at stations due to trains between Business Bay station and Nakheel station stopped operating in both direction due to a technical glitch. The systems were fully restored one hour later.[67]
  • April 3, 2016 - Passengers were left stranded during evening rush hour after a technical snag delayed train services on the Red Line. Systems were restored in 30 minutes.[68]
  • August 24, 2017 - A man commits suicide in Noor Bank Metro Station. The station was shut down for one hour following the incident[69]
  • November 6, 2017 - Passengers commuting on the Red Line were left stranded after a technical glitch caused train services to temporarily stall specifically near Jumeirah Lakes Towers and UAE Exchange stations. Services returned to normal at 12:32 PM.[70]

Dubai Metro Museum

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, gave his directions to transform Dubai Metro stations into art museums under the supervision of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, The project was announced early April 2014 and aims at displaying contemporary and modern art.[71]

See also


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External links