Interview: Abdulla bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie
How will the establishment of an integrated mass transit system contribute to national ambitions for economic development?
ABDULLA BIN ABDULAZIZ BIN TURKI AL SUBAIE: Qatar’s National Vision 2030 is built on cornerstones that facilitate not only a higher standard of living, but also a better quality of life for the current generation and those after. Qatar Rail started implementing its ambitious plan to develop an integrated rail network in the country in line with national ambitions. On an economic level, Qatar Rail’s projects will facilitate passenger and freight transportation, leading to economic growth as well as reduced costs.
The overall cost of traffic to the economy is currently 1-2% of GDP. We can expect to see the economy benefit as the Doha Metro becomes operational, reducing both traffic times and harmful emissions. The economy will also benefit from fewer traffic accidents, and therefore less injury-related costs.
How can habitual car users be incentivised to exchange private transport for public?
AL SUBAIE: Qatar Rail is already a customer-centric organisation. The entire design is based on what people want and need. All residents of Qatar will benefit from this project. The most obvious effect of the Doha Metro is that there will be up to 400,000 fewer car trips per day on Doha’s road networks.
Those who continue using their vehicles will benefit from fewer cars on the road and thus, dramatically reduced traffic. Our experts are predicting that ultimately one out of every four trips will be made by public transport and most of these will involve Doha Metro. People who switch to public transport will benefit from an attractive service that will enhance their mobility, provide comfortable rides and, for many users, also reduce their transportation costs.
We have done extensive research, collecting data from thousands of residents in Qatar in order to find out what they want. The feedback we got is that people want faster, low-cost and convenient travel. The metro system will often be faster and more reliable than car travel: while driving may take 10 minutes or an hour depending on traffic, the metro will always take the same amount of time. It will also make public transport significantly more cost-effective.
What new technologies and smart solutions will be deployed in the Doha Metro project?
AL SUBAIE: We focus very much on the needs of our customers, providing a seamless end-to-end experience using digital media, integrated journey planning, way finding, mobile ticketing and digital signage. All our customers will have access to full mobile coverage and Wi-Fi across the entire network. Future commuters will enjoy a smart, driverless experience on Doha Metro trains equipped with advanced safety and security controls, intelligent air conditioning, the latest passenger information and entertainment systems.
Innovation is not a process that will stop with the roll-out of the metro. Most journeys neither start nor end at a metro station, so we are also looking at smart solutions for what we call the last mile. You can expect to see new and innovative solutions, ranging from traditional feeder buses all the way to automated cars. We work closely with local companies to develop such ideas and make them reality.
What tender opportunities will Qatar Rail offer local and international companies in 2018?
AL SUBAIE: Since most of our construction activities for initial phases of the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram have been awarded, 2018 will not see large-scale tender releases like previous years. However, we will start tendering for transit-oriented developments, and there will be a number of smaller tenders for more specialised companies, especially in the field of smart services and in certain areas of maintenance.
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