* Operational plans prepared to receive fans and facilitate their movement during tournament
* Six-car trains will be operating on Red Line for first time
Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) has announced Doha Metro's readiness for the upcoming FIFA Arab Cup 2021 football tournament.
The Arab Cup represents an opportunity to test the Metro's readiness for the 2022 World Cup, which Qatar is looking forward to hosting next year, Qatar Rail has said in a statement.
"Doha Metro provides football fans with a seamless transportation experience that takes them to the stadium with ease, away from traffic congestion, which usually constitutes a significant obstacle in large public events," the statement notes.
As part of these preparations, it has announced by Doha Metro that service hours will be extended between Nov 30 and Dec 18. The timings will be from 6am until 3am from Saturday to Thursday and from 9am until 3am on Fridays.
To meet the additional demand for the service, six-car trains will operate on the Red Line for the first time. The Doha Metro train fleet, which includes 110 trains, will also be fully operational.
It is expected that the Metro stations will witness a large turnout of the public, especially at stations located near the stadiums where the tournament will be held. There are three stadiums conveniently located at a walking distance from the nearest Metro station. The public can go to Stadium 974 through Ras Bu Abboud station, Education City Stadium through Education City station, and Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium through Al Riffa station.
The organising committee of the tournament will provide shuttle services to transport fans from stations to stadiums that are not directly connected to the Metro network. Fans also can go to Al Bayt Stadium through Lusail QNB station, Al Thumama Stadium through Free Zone station, and Al Janoub Stadium through Al Wakra station.
During the tournament, fans will be able to use the Metro services through the Hayya card (Fan ID) to travel throughout the tournament in Standard class between November 29 and December 19.
Qatar Rail has also recently released a Metro travel guide to the stadiums, which is a digital guide that provides information on how to reach the stadiums by Metro. The guide has been prepared based on the dates of matches according to the schedule. The guide can be obtained by scanning the QR code at Metro stations and on the digital screens inside stations.
Qatar Rail aims to provide a seamless travel experience with First Mile and Last Mile transport solutions such as metrolink and metroexpress, which facilitate the public’s access to Metro stations. This is in addition to providing 'Park and Ride' facilities around Metro stations, which allow the public to park their cars and continue their journeys on the Metro at stations where these services are available.
In addition, co-operation has been made with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the tournament's organising committee to place directional signages at all Doha Metro stations to facilitate the movement of fans while they are at the stations to reach the tournament stadiums.
The final match of the FIFA Arab Cup coincides with Qatar National Day, and this was considered while developing operational plans to ensure the ease of movement of fans and transportation during that day, which is expected to witness a wide demand for Metro services.
The company has stressed the importance of the safety and security of fans. It has advised customers to plan their journeys in advance and to be present at the stations early to ensure their arrival before the match time, and to abide by the instructions of the customer service staff present at stations and on trains.
"The Arab Cup represents a very important opportunity to measure the operational readiness of the network in light of the presence of large numbers of fans who will look forward to going to the matches and at the same time, the key destinations in Doha where they can have an enjoyable experience," the statement adds.