The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has received bids from consultants for two studies that will look at enhancing the operations of the Dubai Metro network to increase its capacity.

The first study will explore options for increasing the capacity of the stations.

It is understood that at least two firms submitted bids, including the UK’s WSP and UK-based Mott MacDonald.

The successful bidder will analyse passenger flows and look at increasing the capacity at major stations such as Burjuman, Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall, Rashidiya and Mall of the Emirates, as well as the possibility of adding new stations to the network on the existing Green and Red lines.

The improvements to existing stations could involve adjusting passenger flows at bottlenecks, such as escalators and ticket turnstiles, as well as more major changes that could require construction work to reconfigure the stations.

The RTA says that during the first quarter of this year, 40.7 million passengers used the Dubai Metro, up about 22 per cent on the 33.3 million that used the network during the same period in 2013.

Dubai Metro busiest stations (passengers)

Red Line

  • Deira City Centre (1.841 million)
  • Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall (1.814 million)
  • Union Station (1.706 million)
  • Al-Rigga Station (1.627 million)

Green Line

  • Al-Fahidi Station (1.658 million)
  • Bani Yas Station (1.610 million)
  • Al-Ghubaiba (1.207 million)
  • Oud Metha Station (1.054 million)

The RTA has also received bids from consultants for a study that will look at improving the systems and rolling stock. The bidders are understood to be France’s Egis and the US’ CH2M Hill.

In early September, MEED reported that the RTA is preparing to make a multibillion-dollar investment in new rolling stock as metro ridership increases ahead of expectations. “We are going to order new trains,” said Abdulredha Abu al-Hassan, director of rail planning and development at the RTA. “We need the trains to be deployed in less than 24 months. The orders will have to be placed immediately to get them within this time frame.”

Dubai’s RTA says recent studies have shown faster uptake of the transport system and forecasts that numbers will continue to increase in the run-up to the World Expo, being held in the emirate in 2020.

The Dubai Metro is the world’s longest driverless metro system and already uses in excess of 80 five-car trains, all of which were built by Japanese rail specialist Kinki Sharyo.

As well as increasing the capacity of the existing lines, the RTA is also planning to extend the Red and Green lines, and build a new line that will connect to the Expo 2020 site next to Al-Maktoum International airport, in the Jebel Ali area.