ON MARCH 21 the Prime Minister of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, attended a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction work on the Red Line of the Dubai Metro.

The 52·1 km Red Line will link Rashidiya and Jebel Ali from 2009. Work is expected to start later this year on the Green Line, which will run for 17·6 km between Dubai Airport Free Zone and Healthcare City; this is due to open in 2010.

At the groundbreaking Abdul Majeed Khawja, Director of the Dubai Metro Department, detailed plans for a third line. To open in 2011, the 47 km Blue Line would serve communities along the Emirates Road, connecting Dubai International Airport and the new airport at Jebel Ali.

'The entire system will be built on the ethos of scalability, to ensure that new projects can be added on and service delivery increased as the need arises', said Mattar Al Tayer, Executive Director of the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority. He told the Prime Minister that the metro will be integrated with buses, taxis and water taxis; each station will have a car park, taxi stands and bus stop. DRTA also plans to introduce a unified fare structure.