May 8, 2019 is the day when life in Doha took yet another futuristic turn with the soft opening of the much-awaited Doha Metro, at least one year ahead of schedule. Qatar Rail kicked off a preview service for the first part of the Doha Metro’s Red Line South last Wednesday – a milestone seen to boost the country’s infrastructure in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Going by the response over the first three days including yesterday (for now there is no service during weekends), Doha Metro is a resounding success, with the cumulative passenger numbers exceeding 100,000. Passengers had the opportunity to visit 13 of the 18 stations from Al Qassar (North) to Al Wakra (South) between 8am and 11pm during the launch, which was originally planned for 2020 but comes nearly a year early.
The Line operates from Sunday to Thursday and takes a break during the weekends “to progress the work required to open more stations and lines.”
The Red Line’s 13 stations include Al Qassar, DECC, QIC West Bay, Corniche, Al Bidda, Msheireb, Al Doha Al Jadeda, Umm Ghuwailina, Al Matar Al Qadeem, Oqba Ibn Nafie, Economic Zone, Ras Bu Fontas, and Al Wakra. The stations to be opened soon are Lusail, Qatar University, Legtaifiya, and Katara.
Filipino expatriate Mylin was among the many Doha residents who tried the metro since its soft opening on May 8. “Just imagine it only took me 15 minutes to reach the DECC station at West Bay from the Al Matar Al Qadeem station. Usually it takes about an hour by car in morning,” she said. Thanks to Doha Metro, Mylin now has time in the morning for some light exercise and more time for breakfast with the family.
Indian expatriate Anita is another of the thousands of early passengers who have wholeheartedly embraced Doha Metro. Also working in the West Bay area, she described the first two days of metro travel as ‘so relaxed and comfortable.’ Living a few minutes away from the Umm Ghuwailina station, Anita said it takes her less than 15 minutes to reach the West Bay QIC station. “No need to rush in the morning. I also don’t need to take my car and search for parking, which is also time consuming,” explained the Doha resident who rates the metro experience as ‘stress-free’. She thinks it will be a long time before she refuels her car again, thanks to Doha Metro.
British expatriate Cameron, who lives in East Al Hilal area, has already planned that he would be using his folding bike to reach the nearest metro station, during winter. Folding bikes can be carried inside the trains. An avid mall walker, the Doha resident says the interior of metro stations provide ample opportunities to get some exercise by sticking to the stairs instead of the elevators and escalators.
Qatar Rail is trying to get feedback from passengers aimed at further improving the Metro’s service as it prepares for its full operation. It also aims to provide one-of-its-kind customer experience as it exerts efforts to meet the expectations of the public. Hats off to Doha Metro.
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