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Dubai metro contractors owed $3bn 8, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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Days after the opening of the world’s tallest building in Dubai, the spendaholic Emirate has been brought firmly back to earth by threats to the completion of its new, highly publicised and much vaunted metro system. Essentially, it appears that the Dubai government has not paid its Japanese contractors almost $3bn and they are – understandably – slowing down construction work on the remaining unopened stations as a negotiating tactic.

The FT reports that part of the problem stems from the spiraling costs of the development, doubling to more than $7.6bn.

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The Dubai kicking continues 4, December 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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The Guardian continues the Western media’s schadenfreude-imbued coverage of Dubai’s debacle today with a nice piece on the absurd construction plans that Dubai had in its make-believe pipeline. As so many people have said: ‘even though ‘I’ don’t know that much about economics, ‘I’ still knew that this level of delusional planning and aspiration would, at some stage, fall flat on its face’. Personally, I count myself among the now smug, after-the-fact-experts claiming that Dubai’s failure was but a matter of time. The only person, I think, that can really claim to have seen it coming is my supervisor in Durham, Dr. Christopher Davidson in his recent book on Dubai. Mabrouk, as they say.

A Small Gallery of Folly

A constantly shifting tower block. Nice idea, would be beautiful, but, come on, let’s be serious. Dubai ridiculous rating (DRR): 9/10

An underwater hotel. Please. DRR: 10/10

A ghastly Trump-built tower. Ugly. DRR: 3/10

A 1km tall tower. Compensating for something are we? DRR: 8/10

Dubai metro hits 1,000,000 27, September 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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Business Intelligence Middle East reports that Dubai’s new metro has passed the magic number of 1,000,000 passengers. Mabrouk, as they say.

Dubai metro’s success 16, September 2009

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Metro airport

One the first day that the new Dubai metro was open to the public, last Thursday, some 67,000 people had given it a whirl. According to the UAE daily, The National, by Saturday night the total number reached 178,000 despite a few teething issues like delays and huge queues to get into some stations.

Many of the commuters on these trains were attracted by the novelty value of hopping aboard the Gulf’s first metro system. It remains to be seen, however, just how many will eschew their 4x4s and actually commute using the system. I’d tentatively suggest that the metro will become something of an ex-pat only zone with Emiratees unwilling to forgo the door-to-door advantage of their air conditioned cars. Only time…

Dubai metro takes off 10, September 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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At exactly 09.09.09 on 09.09.09 the ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid swiped his metro pass and boarded the first metro service in the Gulf. Along with countless other VIPs, followed by a train full of people who had won a ‘golden ticket’ to take part in the event, the service left  – where else – the Mall of the Emirates on the way to Rashidiya station.

The $7.6 billion system is expected to put a dent in the staggering levels of congestion on Dubai’s roads. So far, the system is working perfectly and many of those interviewed by local press maintain that they will use it instead of their cars. This, however, remains to be seen.

Dubai metro launch 9, September 2009

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dubai metro

The BBC reports that Dubai’s eagerly anticipated metro system will launch on Wednesday. Despite costing twice its initial estimate and coming when Dubai is in the midst of a financial crunch of epic proportions, many hope that the metro will be able to tease Emiratees and Expats out of their cars to relieve some of the congestion on the Emirate’s roads.

Some facts and figures:

– Cost overrun to around $7.6 billion

Total length of planned tracks – 318km

– Groundbreaking was in February 2002

– There will be VIP carriges as well as dedicated women only ones

– Trains planned to arrive every 1.5 minutes at peak times

– Dubai has the highest number of cars / person radio in the world (1:1.84)

(Sources: MEED, Arabian Business,