The Doha Metro, along with a system of electric buses, will be the main transportation methods that will carry fans to their destination during next year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The world’s biggest soccer event is still more than a year away, but preparations are already underway, with the new subterranean rail network at its core.
Constructed mostly underground and across the Qatari capital and its suburbs, the network has been operational since 2019, providing a reliable transportation alternative in a rapidly expanding city.
Phase one of the project saw the creation of 37 stations, with three lines, Red, Green, and Gold, running along a 76-kilometer network.
The fully automated 60-meter-long trains have a 416-passenger capacity and are divided into three sections: Standard, Family (for lone females and males or females commuting with children aged 11 or younger), and Gold (Goldclub Travel Cardholders) class where exists USB ports so that travelers can charge their mobiles.
The trains can cruise at up to 100 km/hr and are fully equipped with CCTV and public Wi-Fi systems.
At the heart of it is the Msheireb Station, the largest in the network as well as its interchange serving as a hub for all three lines running through it.
The station features a total of four main levels and has a depth of approximately 40 meters.
The station’s rich interior spaces also offer an array of commercial shops, while the modest exterior is dotted with bicycle racks.
Organizers expect more than 1 million people to arrive in Doha during the 2022 World Cup and the Metro system was designed to be its transportation pillar.
The system directly links Doha’s Hamad International Airport with five of the eight stadiums hosting, with the remaining sites of the compact event being accessible via a mixture of rail and bus options.
The metro system is efficient, electric, and utilizes regenerative braking systems which help to reduce the carbon footprint,” World Cup organizers say on their website. “In addition, all the metro stations are designed and operated under green building certification.”
Officials see the expanding Doha Metro as a key infrastructural component of the Qatar National Vision 2030 that will benefit future generations in the years to come.
Opportunities for store owners and entrepreneurs
Qatar Rail is offering retailers an opportunity to open new stores at Doha Metro’s Lusail Tram stations ahead of its opening. In an advertisement, Qatar Rail announced that at least five retail spaces – Marina, Marina Promenade, Yacht Club, Esplanade, and Energy City South – are currently available for leasing. Units start at QR3,000 ($824) monthly.
According to Qatar Rail, the Lusail Tram network is comprised of four lines and 25 stations aboveground and underground and connects it to the Doha Metro via two interchange stations: Lusail and Legtaifiya.
Retailers who will avail of this offer at Lusail Tram stations can also get up to 12 months of the license fee for a free and flexible agreement duration of three years or five years. Water and electricity costs will be included in the license fee.
The Lusail Tram’s total route is approximately 19kms long and around 1,500 sqms of retail space is spread across 43 retail outlets.
Qatar Rail earlier announced retail opportunities in its 9,200sqms space spread across 37 stations of the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram network, giving retailers, including small and medium enterprises, a chance to open new stores and expand their reach.
“We have focused on providing accessible stations with distinctive branding, signage, and digital displays inside and outside the stations,” Qatar Rail said on its website.
Retail spaces (permitted trades) include services, general retail, food and beverages, convenience, and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and vending machines.
As Qatar is successfully transforming its public transport system to eco-friendly mode, the country will have 2,700 bus stops by 2022.
“Aligning with #QNV2030, the country’s public transport system will become 25% electric by 2022, and Qatar is building several major stations for electric buses and will have 2,700 bus stops by 2022,” the Government Communications Office (GCO) said in a recent tweet.
It added that over 1,100 buses will be deployed during the FIFA event.
Earlier in September, the Director of Technical Affairs Department at the Ministry of Transport had said that contracts would be signed for EV charging units.
Public buses, government school buses, and Doha Metro feeder buses will gradually shift to electrification, thus hitting the rollout percentage that is required to reduce harmful carbon emissions from buses by 2030.
About 700 electric charging stations would be built for the electric buses which would provide transport to spectators during the matches.
Project delivery details
The rail transit system is being developed as part of the Qatar Government’s €130 bn ($148 bn) diversification and modernization strategy, involving public and private investments. The campaign also aims to reduce Qatar’s dependency on natural gas exports.
In October 2012, the ground-breaking ceremony of the project was held and construction commenced at the Msheireb interchange station.
As of December 2019, the metro rail project contained a 76km network with three lines and 37 stations.
A consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Mitsubishi Corporation, Hitachi, Kinki Sharyo, and Thales submitted a bid for the turnkey construction of a fully automated driverless metro system in March 2014.
The work package included the delivery of 75 sets of three-car trains, tracks, platform screen doors, a railway yard, a signaling system, power distribution, tunnel ventilation, and telecommunications. The first four train sets of the Doha Metro were delivered in August 2017.
In October 2018, Kinki Sharyo received an order to deliver an additional 35 trains, bringing the total fleet to 110. The new fleet was intended to cater to the increased passenger numbers during the FIFA World Cup 2022.