Qatar’s Driverless Metro System

Tolerro CEO Anomi’s visit to Qatar in May saw her meet with the Operations Manager of Qatar Rail, who is overseeing the creation of a metro system which will revolutionise the way people travel around Qatar’s capital city of Doha.

The completed metro will be 217km long and link together 100 stations across four lines: the Red, Green, Gold and Blue lines. The lines will be piloted by driverless trains which Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Communication notes are capable of reaching speeds up to 100km/h, making them among the fastest of their kind in the world.

With the Red line already functional and being used, Anomi was able to experience the metro firsthand travelling between stations. Anomi’s experience on the train, as well as in discussions with Qatar Rail, demonstrated that the priority of the metro is excellence in customer service. The developers aim to provide customers with an experience that not only changes Doha’s transport landscape, but is also comfortable, convenient and reliable. 

A computerised driverless system ensures that trains are always on time, and there are safe pedestrian walkways within 400 metres of all stations. Beyond their convenience, the trains use a cooling system to ensure that travellers enjoy a comfortable temperature. The trains also offer free Wi-Fi for customers and boast impressive affordability, with a single ride costing $0.79 (AUD) and a full day of travel costing $2.36 (AUD).

Traffic congestion is a serious issue in crowded Doha, and the efficient train system allows commuters to avoid peak hour traffic by not relying on their cars for transport. Accordingly, it offers the potential to greatly reduce the huge environmental impact currently created by cars.

The metro will be relied upon to shuttle viewers to and from Khalifa International Stadium for the IAAF World Championships in September, and to transport the huge international crowds that will descend upon Qatar for their 2022 hosting of the Fifa World Cup. The Red Line in particular will be vital for the feasibility of hosting the World Cup, as it will transport viewers between Al Wakrah and Lusail stadiums. More broadly, traveling by train will also be an excellent way for visiting tourists unfamiliar with the city’s layout to get around and see the sights of Doha.

The complete metro system is estimated to cost $36bn, and the next three lines are on schedule to be fully operational in 2020.

In Australia, Sydney has completed phase one of a similar project: a fully automated train system currently shuttling passengers between suburbs Rouse Hill and Chatswood. Sydney is the first Australian city to complete a fully driverless metro system, and the success of the new metro will likely determine the future of Australian public transport systems.