The Ministry of Transport and Communications and Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) announced the unexpected soft opening of the Doha Metro Red Line South on 6 May 2019. The opening of section 1 of Doha Metro Red Line, which is part of the Doha Metro project, marks a significant milestone for the country’s transport sector.
The initial operation includes 13 out of the 18 Red Line stations: Al Qassar, Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC), QIC West Bay, Corniche, Al Bidda (Interchange Station), Msheireb (Interchange Station), Al Doha Al Jadeeda, Umm Ghuwailina, Al Matar Al Qadeem, Oqba Ibn Nafie, Free Zone, Ras Bu Fontas and Al Wakra. The remaining stations including the Hamad International Airport (HIA) Station are expected to open in January 2020.
The trial operation of the Gold Line began on 21 November 2019, extending from Ras Bu Abboud Station to Al Aziziyah Station. The Gold Line, which runs east to west across Doha, includes 11 stations: Ras Bu Abboud, National Museum, Souq Waqif, Musheireb, Bin Mahmoud, Al Sadd, Sudan, Jawaan, Al Waab, Sports City, Al Aziziyah. Metro users can switch between the Red Line and Gold Line at the Msheireb Station.
Operation timings are from Saturday to Thursday from 6 am to 11 pm, and from 2 pm to 11 pm on Friday. There will be a train every six minutes, and the travel time between stations is three minutes. The service will stop during weekends to continue the work required to open more stations and lines.
Mowasalat offers special deals for Karwa taxis and also free feeder buses for metro commuters. To solve the first and last mile connectivity, Mowasalat provides metrolink feeder buses from stations, along with Karwa taxis that provide service at a flat promotional fare of QAR8 for metro commuters. Karwa taxi passengers travelling to and from any metro station can book a taxi through the Karwa App using promo code RAIL to avail the promotional fare for a journey within 3 km. Careem Qatar also offers taxi fare promotions to Doha Metro commuters.
In July 2019, Qatar Rail launched the Metroexpress service for metro users in West Bay as part of its efforts to provide integrated transportation solutions for Doha Metro passengers. Metroexpress is a free trial ride-sharing service, currently covering the QIC and DECC stations. The free trial ride-sharing service provides a quick and convenient access to DECC and West Bay QIC metro stations from points of interest in West Bay, and vice versa. The service can be booked through the Metroexpress app. Users are required to register a separate account. Metroexpress uses a fleet of branded Mercedes Vito vans, seating seven people per vehicle. The application places seats in a single vehicle for multiple passengers travelling to one destination and through software connected to a navigation system that directs the driver of the vehicle to reach the passengers at the desired time and place, walking the shortest possible route. This service is provided strictly for Doha Metro customers registered with Qatar Rail and is to be used only in conjunction with a metro journey. Metroexpress service operates during the current Doha Metro hours from 6 am to 11 pm.
Doha Metro Travel Cards
Travel cards and credit can be purchased at self-service Travel Card Vending Machines (TVMs) in all Doha Metro stations. A single journey card costs QAR2 and a day pass costs QAR6, and allows unlimited journeys for one day. Adult and child fares are the same.
There are three different types of travel cards are available for Doha Metro – Limited Use, Standard and Gold.
Limited Use Travel Card: A non-reusable, paper travel card that contains either a single journey or day pass. The cost of this travel card depends on the type of product you are purchasing (a single journey or day pass) and the class of travel you want to travel in (standard class including family or Gold Club). Limited Use Travel Cards can be purchased from self-service TVMs at any Doha Metro station.
Standard Travel Card: A reusable plastic travel card that costs QAR10. Once you purchase the card, you must add Travel Credit before you can use it to travel. Add Travel Credit by ‘Topping Up’ at a TVM at any Doha Metro station. This Travel Card does not permit travel in the Gold Club sections on the Doha Metro trains. This card is currently available at licensed retailers like Al Meera, LuLu, Jumbo and Carrefour.
Gold Travel Card: A reusable plastic card that costs QAR100 and is only available from Gold Club offices at Doha Metro stations. This travel card permits travel in the Gold Club sections on the Doha Metro trains. Once you purchase the card, you must add Travel Credit before you can use it to travel. Add Travel Credit by ‘Topping Up’ at a TVM at any Doha Metro and Lusail Tram stations.
Anyone aged five and above needs a Travel Card to travel on Doha Metro. Children aged four and below do not need a Travel Card and must be accompanied by a fare paying adult. A child must be nine years old or above to travel alone on the network. Younger kids should be accompanied by someone at least 16 years of age.
The reusable Standard Travel Cards and Gold Travel Cards are valid for five years. So, do not throw it away.
The Doha Metro system
The Doha Metro system will be built in two phases: the first will see the construction of three out of the four lines – Red, Gold and Green – and 37 stations. The Red Line, which was originally planned for 2020, opened almost one year ahead of schedule. The Gold Line opened in. The Green Line is expected to open to the public in January 2020.
The Red Line runs for about 40 km from Al Wakra in the south to Lusail in the north, while the Green Line runs east from Al Riffa to Al Mansoura in the west. There will be 11 stations along this line. The east-west Gold Line extends from Ras Bu Aboud to Al Aziziya, also with 11 stations.
Once completed, the Doha Metro will serve both the capital and the suburbs with all major locations within easy and convenient reach. The Metro will link to the 2022 FIFA World CupTM stadiums.
In October 2018, Qatar Rail signed an agreement to procure 35 additional trains for the Doha Metro project, making the total number of trains serving the project 110.
Future phases will include the introduction of an additional line – Blue – and expansion of the existing ones, with more than 60 additional stations, and the first expansion will be completed by 2026.
Quick fun facts:
• The Doha Metro trains are driverless.
• Doha Metro is one of the fastest metro trains in the world, and can reach 100 km/per hour.
• Doha Metro stations are environmentally-friendly. Stations have been designed and built with sustainable standards, using high recycled building materials. LED is used to minimise energy consumption and recycled wastewater in the cooling system.
Architecturally, the Doha Metro stations reflect the heritage of the country, with a ‘vaulted spaces’ design inspired by traditional Bedouin tents.
The largest station, Msheireb, is the hub or heart of the Doha Metro with the Red, Green and Gold lines all connecting at this point.
For more information, visit qr.com.qa or call the Doha Metro hotline at 105.
Author: Ola Diab
This feature is from the ‘Special Features’ section in the latest issue of Marhaba – Issue 75, which comes out in August 2019.
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