Green Line opens amidst black clouds and the silver lining

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A metro train running on the Green Line on trial basis. Etisalat has secured naming rights to the Al Qusais station on the forthcoming Metro Green Line. Photo - Getty Images

With the opening of Dubai Metro’s Green Line on Friday, it may be good news for some and bad news for others.

The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place tomorrow with 16 stations will be opened to the public on Saturday. The opening of the other two stations will follow soon after.

PROPERTY

Asteco Elaine Jones,chief executive of the property company, said, “The Dubai Metro has added a whole new market dynamic as the network is rolled out across the emirate, the rental disparity will become even more pronounced than it is already.

Therefore, the value of property is expected to greatly rise and rents have been estimated to increase by 25%.

Asteco said a small property in Deira within walking distance of the Green Line would now be leased for Dh50,000, while a similar property farther away would be rented out for Dh40,000 per anum.

“Certain property fundamentals remain consistent and location is of primary importance, said Ms Jones. ‘Market maturity’ is in process, she said, as closeness to a metro station is becoming a priority for many tenants, who are prepared to pay up to 25 per cent more for it.

And she doesnt stand alone in her opinion. Mehdi Agouzoul, a residential leasing consultant with property company, Better Homes, also predicted rising rents. “Based on what we saw when the Metro Red Line opened two years ago, we expect property values and rental rates for properties closest to the Green Line stations to increase by 5 to 15 per cent, depending on their proximity to the station,” he said.

He advised property owners to consult an estate agency to avoid incorrectly pricing properties and tenants to check the rent increase conditions in their contracts and should contact the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) if there was any dispute.

EFFECTS

The change is already in effect. Abdelfattah Sattam manages a five-storey building with 15 apartments that is three minutes’ walk from Al Ras station, set to open to the public on Saturday. He said he would now charge new tenants an Dh4,000 more than his original yearly rent prices.

Car utilisation in Dubai is only 1.6 persons per vehicle according to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). This in turn means that if 100,000 more people switch to the Green Line daily there would be 62,500 fewer cars on Dubai’s roads.

This would not only have a positive effect on the traffic, but also on the environment in general. As for the residents, the more feeder buses to the metro seem to be the determining factor for major change to take effect. Around 456 new buses feeding 39 routes around the Green Line have been introduced.

“I will keep my car for the meantime. I don’t know how efficient the feeder buses would be,” Samir Khan, who lives near Abu Hail, told Gulf News.

“I will consider the Green Line as an alternative to our company bus transport. But that would depend on availability and reliability of feeder buses, said Ruby, a patient administrator at City Hospital, Dubai Healthcare City.

The feeder busses will be operational from 5.30 a.m. to 12 a.m.

The challenge for the RTA is in getting more drivers off the roads and on to the trains and this may take some time.

CABS

But what of those who earn their daily living as drivers? For some cab drivers their intake of fairs dropped by about 25% when the Red Line opened. Their only option now with the opening of the Green Line is to focus on parts of the city that neither of the Metro lines cover.

However, Keion Williams, who began driving taxis two months ago sees things more positively. He said the opening of the new line could lead to an increase in business. “Everyone has to take taxis sometime,” he said. “We might begin seeing people taking taxis more but travelling shorter distances, to get to a bus stop or Metro station. His logic is that, some people who needed to travel long distances that the metro wouldnt cover and did not want to pay too much money for a cab, would have stayed at home earlier.”Now maybe they will come out and use all three public transport methods, including the taxi.”

The Green Line will function from 6am to 12am on Saturdays to Wednesdays. On Thursday, it will work from 6am to 1am and on Fridays, from 1 pm up to 1am.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has also issued an exclusive Silver and Gold Nol Cards for public transport users in Dubai to commemorate the opening of the new line. “We are launching a limited edition of only about 10,000 cards to commemorate the opening of the Green Line,” said Abdullah Al Madani, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Corporate Technical Support Services Sector at the RTA.The new cards will be sold at Dh35 per card including credit of Dh14.

Sources: The National, Gulf News

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