Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, has laid the foundation stone on September 5, 2016, for the ‘Route 2020’ mega project to expand the Red Line of Dubai Metro. The 15 km branch will begin at Nakheel Harbour and Tower on the current Red Line, then run on 11·8 km of the overpass with stations serving The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, and Al Furjan. The stations at Jumeirah Golf Estates and Dubai Investment Park would be on a 3·2 km underground division, before the terminus at Expo 2020 site. A trial run is scheduled to start by the end of 2019 while the passenger service is expected to launch on May 20, 2020, five months ahead of the World Expo 2020. The travelling time from the Expo site to Dubai Marina will be approximately 16 minutes. In June, the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) had granted the contract to build Route 2020 to the Expolink consortium of Alstom, Acciona and Gülermak.
Route 2020 is a Dhs10·6 billion mega project comprising the supply of 50 train-sets, of which 15 are required for the new line and 35 to increase capacity on existing routes. Railway systems will be provided by Thales. Route 2020 will have the ability to accommodate 23,000 passengers/h per direction. The initial ridership is expected to be nearly 125,000 passengers per day, increasing to 275,000 by 2030. According to the expectation of RTA, around 35,000 passengers will utilise Expo station each weekday and 47,000 per day on weekends, making up one-fifth of the forecast number of visitors to Expo 2020. The metro extension is a part of RTA’s strategy to boost public transport modal share from 15·3% to 20% by 2020.