World’s longest driverless metro begins operation in Dubai

The metro and tram systems are part of a wider, multimodal network that expands travel options in the emirate by linking metro stations with bus, taxi and marine services.

The world’s longest driverless metro in Dubai has begun operating under a new a 15-year contract awarded by the emirate’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA).

The running of the metro and the tramway is a joint venture (Keolis-MHI1) led by Keolis that includes Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering (MHI) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) which have both been heavily involved in the construction and development of Dubai’s metro network since 2005.

Transition period

For this new contract, Keolis-MHI has recruited 1,850 employees, mainly from the previous operator, following a seven-month transition period.

“Dubai Metro currently constitutes the backbone of transportation systems in Dubai. It links vital areas and provides safe and smooth mobility for riders. The huge successes of the Dubai Metro have gone far and wide beyond the scope of the emirate,” said Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general, and chairman of the board of executive directors, RTA.

“The metro has embellished the global profile of Dubai as a superior business hub and a key destination for an exceptional quality of life. The metro is a brilliant addition to Dubai’s iconic landmarks as it uses state-of-the-art rail technology.”

The transition of assets and systems called for retaining a majority of previous operator Serco’s workforce who have acquired extensive experience in operating and maintaining Dubai’s metro and tram networks.

To facilitate the move, Keolis sent in a transition team whose members reflect the group’s expertise in France and around the world. It included 52 staff dedicated to mobilisation on the ground, alongside 35 experts in operations, maintenance, human resources, marketing and customer relations.

The new contract spans 15 years composed of a nine-year fixed term contract with three possible two-year extensions.

Keolis-MHI is responsible for operating and maintaining the Dubai Metro Red and Green lines and operating the Dubai Tram. The company will run all metro and tram network assets, from trains and control centres to stations and associated infrastructure, delivering passenger transport services capable of handling large variations in passenger numbers.

Dubai Metro uses level-4 communications-based train control (CBTC) technology by Thales, which boosts transport capacity by reducing the interval between trains. The system has two lines (including Route 2020) covering a total of 90km, including 16km of tunnel. Its 53 fully air-conditioned stations offer a host of facilities, from retail outlets to wifi.

The metro system is also part of a wider, multimodal network that expands travel options by linking metro stations with bus, taxi and marine services.

“We share RTA’s smart city vision, which sees smart mobility as the answer to a more efficient transport system and a more vibrant city. And we look forward to accompanying RTA on this exciting journey to make the city safer, cleaner and more attractive,” added Marie-Ange Debon, CEO, Keolis Group.

Dubai’s network operates with 129 metro trainsets – 79 Kinki Sharyo metro trains delivered by Mitsubishi in 2009 and 50 metropolis trains built by Alstom – and provides easy access to key locations, including Dubai International Airport, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Healthcare City and the Expo 2020 site, where the UAE is set to host a world expo for six months from October 2021.



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