Qatar Rail has commenced on May 8 the service for the first section of Doha Metro’s Red Line, from Al Qassar in the north, to Al Wakrah in the south. The section is served by 13 out of 18 stations on the fully Red Line, with Al Bidda as the interchange station.
The launch, which was originally planned for 2020, comes almost one year ahead of schedule. It is an important stage for testing the Doha Metro system with passengers, providing an opportunity to evaluate and review the performance in preparation for the full operation of the network, the company says.
The Red Line stations encompass a special architectural identity such as vaulted spaces, a concept that reflects on the heritage of the region by introducing open spaces that mimic traditional Bedouin tents. The design also uses ornamentations and traditional elements of Islamic and local art. The colours of the Red Line stations interiors reflect the identity of the Red Line, also known as the coastal Line, as it runs along the coastal side of Doha.
The air-conditioned stations contain a customer service centre, Gold Club office, a police booth, separate male and female prayer areas and restrooms that cater for people with disabilities. The stations are equipped with information systems, security cameras and contain first aid rooms.
The line is operated by driverless three-car trains able to run at speeds of 100 km per hour. A train consists of one Gold and Family Class car and two Standard class cars. Gold car will have 16 seats, family 26 seats and standard 88 seats. The front end of the vehicle and its lines define a shape that is powerful yet elegant, while the windows are inspired by the slender eyes of local wildlife. The design is custom made for the Doha Metro project and the interior is inspired by the progressive architecture present in Doha skyline, once again combining traditional and modern elements.
During this phase, Qatar Rail expects feedback from passengers that will contribute to the improvement of provided services, while will focus its efforts to making the necessary evaluations to meet passengers’ expectations.
“Today we stand at a turning point as the project shifts from the development stage to the operational stage. The preview service is a major opportunity to measure the efficiency of the network and the services we provide. The outputs of the preview service are essential for us, and we will build on them as we prepare for the full opening of the network by 2020,” Abdulla Saif Al Sulaiti, Chief of Service Delivery at Qatar Rail said.
A train at every six minutes will run on the section, from 8am to 11pm on weekdays. Three minutes is the travel time between the stations. During weekends, the services will stop for the needed works on the construction the remained stations on the line, as well as on the other lines.
In terms of service and ticket pricing, Qatar Rail has conducted comprehensive and integrated pricing studies, and has introduced several categories to make tickets accessible to everybody, and available through multiple sales channels. Limited Use, Gold Class card and a Standard card are the available options for travel tickets. The price for a single journey starts from QAR 2 (USD 0.55) for Standard option, to QAR 10 (USD 2.75) for Gold Club members.
To increase public transport share, the car parking areas in stations are limited and it was introduced a drop off and pick up parking areas at all stations.
To integrate Doha Metro with other modes of transport, Ministry of Transport and Qatar Rail cooperate to introduce feeder buses services that will take passengers to and from stations. The railway company has also signed several partnerships with other service providers to transport passengers at a low cost.
When completed, the Red Line, also known as the Coast Line, will have 40 km from Al Wakra in the south to Lusail in the north. The line will provide connection from Hamad International Airport at Terminal 1 to the centre of the city. It has 18 stations with the Legtaifiya station, which will be opened in the second stage, allowing passengers to transfer over to the Lusail Tram.