Dubai Unveils Gulf's First Metro

Sheikhdom aims to get drivers onto public transport despite rock-bottom fuel prices
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2009 1:26 AM CDT
A train is tested during a trial session in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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(Newser) – Dubai yesterday opened its gleaming new $7.6 billion metro rail system, the first on the Arabian peninsula, AP reports. The sheikhdom's leaders hope the system will help clear Dubai's chronically traffic-clogged streets and provide some good press for the downturn-battered emirate.  Each 5-car train on the driverless system has a women-only carriage, and a VIP car at the front with leather seats.

The system looks ultra modern and spanking clean compared to the subways in London, New York, and Paris, a reviewer writes at dscriber. The stations are bright with no corners to lurk in, and the emirate's harsh laws will likely ensure the system remains tagger-free. So far, though, the trains aren't scoring well getting people around the city, the reviewer notes—only 10 of its 29 stations were ready on opening day.