The first three lines of Phase I of the Doha Metro and the Lusail LRT (light rail transit) are expected to be up and running by the end of 2020, according to Qatar Rail.
"We are still on schedule to open the first three lines of phase one of the Doha Metro and the Lusail LRT by the end of 2020," Qatar Rail managing director Abdulla bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie told Oxford Business Group in an interview.
The construction of the Doha Metro is currently operating at full capacity with over 32,000 workers at present, he said, adding as of the beginning of June 2016, more than 100km of tunnels out of the total 111 km have been dug.
"We anticipate finishing the remainder by the last quarter of 2016. 100% of the tunnels for the Lusail LRT have been completed," he said.
In 2016 Qatar Rail will be awarding the mechanical engineering and plumbing contracts, as well as the architectural subcontracts, to complete the fit-out for all of the 37 metro stations for Phase I. The full-scale mock-up for the metro trains and LRT trams will arrive in Doha for the first time in 2016, he said.
Highlighting that it also studied other similar rail projects and tried to incorporate the lessons learned from different major projects in Qatar to avoid delays from certain risks that may arise, al-Subaie said on the programme delivery side, it is working according to the original time schedule.
"The contract also includes a bonus clause for contractors for the early completion of milestones; we are the first major project in Qatar to incentivise construction in this way," he said.
On the long distance network, which is expected to align with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) wide coverage; he said this is an opportunity to create a safe and efficient passenger network for Qatar and the wider region and at the same time increase trade by linking regional ports via a rail network.
"Trade among the GCC countries is currently growing at 5% per annum, and the added infrastructure will boost this figure further," al-Subaie said, adding it will also remove substantial traffic from the road network, with each train estimated to carry the same amount of goods as 300-400 trucks.
The development of the long-distance rail system in Qatar is part of the overall GCC rail network development, which Qatar Rail is now coordinating, and this is due to be completed by the third quarter of 2019.
"At present, we have the ability to start construction of Phase I of the long-distance portion in 2016 and expect these tenders to be released during the coming year," said al-Subaie, who is also the chairman of the executive committee of Qatar Rail.
Asked about Qatar Rail can change the public transportation system, he said the ease of access to stations is another area it is focused on.
"We are placing walking and biking facilities, and feeder buses, in the neighbourhoods around the stations to enlarge the catchment area," he said, adding the technology for ticketing, delivery planning and journey updates will also be developed to the highest possible service levels for a project of this scale.
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