Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) is expected to appoint an external adviser to explore its options for funding the extensions of the Red and Green lines of the city’s metro in early 2014.

At least eight firms are understood to be competing for the role. They are:

  • EY (formerly Ernst & Young) (UK)/Atkins (UK)
  • KPMG (Netherlands)
  • Deloitte (US)/Arup (UK)
  • PwC (UK)
  • Jones Lang LaSalle (US)
  • Colliers International (US)
  • CBRE (US)
  • Booz & Co (US)

The appointed adviser will look at the possibility of raising funding from banks and other private sources to finance the project, and whether the extensions could be structured as a public-private partnership (PPP). It will also be asked to look at the possibility of using the PPP model to develop commercial space around three existing stations on the metro. Funds raised from this would then be used to help finance the metro line extensions.

Another extension to the Red Line is also being planned by the RTA as it begins to prepare for Dubai Expo in 2020. Two alignments are understood to be under consideration. They are a spur line that will be part of the existing Red line and will also create options for stations at existing residential and industrial areas not currently on the metro network. That option will involve a section of the Red line running from the metro car park at NakheelHarbour and Tower station, past Discovery Gardens, the Green Community, and Dubai Investment Park, before heading out to the expo site next to the new airport.

Another alignment being considered is an extension to the Red Line beyond Jebel Ali that will head inland to the Expo site. Although cheaper to deliver, this solution would mean longer journey times to the Expo, and would not provide the opportunity to build new stations for existing centres of population and industry.

The existing Dubai Metro was financed directly by the government, but as a result of the collapse of the emirate’s economy in 2009, it was left unable to pay contractors on the project. As a result, it reached a deal with the contractors to pay them in installments up to 2017. The financial crisis also prompted the government to focus on reducing its budget deficit and curtailing direct spending on infrastructure.

The RTA is also seeking private-sector funding for a real estate development around the Union Square metro station in Deira.

The project is intended to be developed as a PPP between the RTA and a private developer. A procurement process to select a suitable developer is due to start next year.

Referred to as the Union Oasis, the scheme is modelled as a Transit Oriented Development (TOD), a concept that aims to maximise the area surrounding transport hubs, with an aim of increasing usage of the nearby trains, metros and buses.

Union station is one of the busiest stations on the Dubai Metro network, as it is where the Red and Green rail lines cross. It is also close to Dubai Creek and has connections with water taxis and local buses. The development of the area surrounding the station is expected to encourage more people to use public transport, as well as regenerate the Deira area, which lies at the heart of old Dubai.

EY is the financial adviser on the project and has conducted a feasibility study into the development, while Atkins has acted as technical adviser and has drawn up the initial architectural designs.

Destination Dubai 2020
On 28-29 January 2014, MEED will hold its Destination Dubai 2020 event. The two-day conference will bring together the emirate’s key government-related entities and stakeholders to discuss their respective growth plans and outline Dubai’s ongoing expansion to 2020 and beyond. For the very latest information regarding this event, please visit www.destinationdubai2020.com