DUBAI // The Dubai Metro will run until 3am during the week-long Eid Al Adha holiday to cater to a predicted surge in tourists as well as people taking advantage of 24-hour shopping in seven of the emirate’s most popular malls.

A number of shopping malls will be open continuously from 10am today (tue) until 3am on Thursday.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) decided to extend the metro’s operating hours from its usual normal week night finish of 11pm until 3am. Trains will start running again at 5am, after just a two hour break.

“The malls will be 24 open hours during Eid,” said Hussain Al Banna, director of traffic at the RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.

“We are going in line with this. We can cater to a maximum number of passengers. This will reduce the amount of people using cars.”

He said last year the RTA kept the metro running until 4am to cater to shoppers taking advantage of the 24 hour mall opening programme during the last ‘Eid in Dubai’ shopping festival.

However, the hours were shortened this year after officials noticed a significant decrease in footfall after 3am.

“After looking at the records from last year, we saw that from 3am to 4am it’s not that much congested,” he said.

“It wasn’t worth to operate the metro with the high operational costs for a very minimum number of passengers. Until 3am it will be the best.”

Mr Al Banna said 1.2 million passengers per day were predicted to use public transport, including taxis, buses, abras, metro and water ferries, throughout Eid.

In addition, he expected 150,000 people each day to travel by taxi, metro and bus to the Dubai Mall.

The mall, in Downtown Dubai, is one of seven that have signed up to stay open from Tuesday until Thursday. The others are Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, Mirdif City Centre, Dubai Festival City Mall, Arabian Centre and Lamcy Plaza.