Dubai on Friday inaugurated its second metro rail network, after a one-year delay, to ease traffic congestion in this city of some two million people, state television reported.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum opened the new line, named Green and running about 23 kilometres (14.3 miles) through residential and commercial areas, the report said.
Sixteen of the 18 stations on the line are operational.
The line was initially scheduled to be opened in August 2010 but was delayed because of financial difficulties that hit the emirate during the 2008 global economic crisis, media said.
The first line, known as Red, runs 52 kilometres and was opened on September 2009.
“Since then and until August 2011, the metro carried 84.2 million people,” said Mattar al-Tayi, chief executive of the Road and Transport Authority, adding the Green line would serve an average of about 100,000 passengers daily by the end of the year.
The network of luxurious trains is being built by a consortium led by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The initial cost of the metro when it was launched in 2005 was $4.4 billion, but it has since surged to $7.6 billion.
Dubai, which has established itself as a regional business centre and tourist destination, has enormous investments in infrastructure.