Interview: Abdulla bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie
Where will Qatar Rail focus its contribution to economic development as laid out in Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030)?
ABDULLA BIN ABDULAZIZ BIN TURKI AL SUBAIE: Qatar’s national agenda of fostering a vibrant, modern and prosperous country continues to be guided by QNV 2030 and its five-year development strategies. The agenda calls for the development of an integrated transport system that promotes public transport as the preferred mode of travel. Qatar Rail is supporting this through its delivery of the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram networks. The national agenda led Qatar Rail to establish a number of short- and long-term objectives that include completing construction and commencing railway operations, promoting private sector involvement, building Qatari capability in the new railway sector, striving towards financial sustainability and supporting diversification of the economy through the development of new industries.
In what ways is Qatar Rail preparing to cater to the increase in local traffic that is anticipated during the 2022 FIFA World Cup?
AL SUBAIE: Despite just opening in May 2019, the automated railway is already widely used, with 333,000 people choosing the Doha Metro on National Day. Furthermore, the metro was tested during two major football tournaments held in Qatar. Nearly 100,000 spectators used the metro during the match days in December 2019, with 16,000 spectators, or 35% of the entire crowd, taking advantage of stressfree travel to and from Khalifa Stadium to watch the final match of the FIFA World Cup.
The requirements that originate from the most prestigious global sporting event have been carefully considered during all design phases of the Doha Metro, while also ensuring legacy use. All of the World Cup venues are connected to a metro station, either directly or by shuttle bus. During the tournament in 2022 it is expected that the metro will carry approximately one-third of stadium-related traffic, as well as a significant share of the traffic generated by fans in the country who do not have tickets for the day. The Doha Metro will also be able to cater to the background demand that is generated by the citizens of Doha.
How will transit-oriented developments (TODs) impact the commercial real estate market?
AL SUBAIE: Qatar Rail’s TODs will complement the commercial real estate market by providing a mixeduse offering that can be easily accessed by public transport. On one hand, this will increase the size of the market around many commercial hubs by enabling people who live further away or do not have easy access to their own transport to comfortably travel to such locations for both work and leisure. On the other, it will supply additional housing within walking distance to public transport. Our TODs will focus on assets that are under-supplied or can grow the overall market. They will also encourage private sector participation in opportunities where there is a high level of synergy with Qatar Rail.
What practices are being implemented to provide comprehensive travel for all segments?
AL SUBAIE: Qatar Rail has conducted extensive market research on its customers, including segmentation analysis, to ensure all customers can enjoy a seamless and convenient rail experience. Based on their preference, customers will have the choice of travelling in standard, gold or family-only carriages. Our station staff have also undertaken extensive training in customer service for a variety of different cultures and segments. In terms of awareness, we have used various channels in a number of different languages in order to ensure our customers are fully informed about the benefits of using our service.