British firm wins bid to run Dubai metro

March 25th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, March 25 (IANS) British firm Serco was Tuesday awarded a contract for operating and maintaining the first phase of the Dubai Metro System, the world’s longest driverless fully automated metro system. A 10-year agreement to this effect was signed between Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Serco here.

“Selecting Serco comes after a public tender put out by the RTA, for which several global companies specialised in rail operation and maintenance had applied,” Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of RTA, said in a statement here.

“Following analysis of submitted bids, the offer of Serco was nominated as the best bid. The company has got experience in operating and maintaining a number of metro and rail lines in the UK, Denmark and Australia,” he said.

The 15.5 billion-dirham ($4.2 billion) first phase of the Dubai metro is scheduled to become operational by Sep 9, 2009 with trains running on the 52-km Red Line from Rashidiya area in the city to the Jebel Ali port.

The second line under the first phase is the 22-km Green Line, which will run from Al Qusais to Al Jedaff, and is scheduled for completion in 2010.

The other two lines of the proposed four-line network are the Blue Line, connecting the Dubai International Airport with the upcoming Al Makhtoum International Airport near Jebel Ali along the Emirates Road and the Purple Line, which will also connect the two stations but will run along Al Khail Road.

Under the agreement, Serco will operate and maintain services to all assets of Dubai metro, including trains, railways, stations and associated facilities during the period of contract, Al Tayer said.

It will also provide transit services to users and operate the metro revenue system.

“Operating and maintaining Dubai Metro System (Red and Green Lines) will require at least 3,200 employees,” he said.

“It will be difficult for the RTA to recruit and train this huge number of technically trained manpower as the RTA has no existing metro systems to train new employees thereon, whereas specialized companies can do this job, thanks to their operational systems in place, and their interaction with experts and technicians.”

Serco manages the Docklands Light Railway in London and Great Southern Railways in Australia.

It also has a joint venture with NedRailways, the international arm of Dutch national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen, which has a 25-year concession for Merseyrail in Liverpool and operates the Northern Rail services in the north of England.

Al Tayer said tasking operations and maintenance to specialised firms would reduce metro operation and maintenance costs.

“Such (an) exercise will result in providing top quality services at lower costs along with sustained improvements to reduce operational costs. Additionally, it will enable RTA to focus on its core business of preparing legislations, overseeing implementation and compliance therewith, and supervising key projects,” he said.

In May 2005, the contract for designing and building the first phase of the network was awarded to Dubai Rail Link (DURL) - a consortium comprising Japanese companies Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation, Obayashi Corporation, Kajima Corporation and Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi.

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