Nowhere in the world is anyone working harder on their infrastructure than in Dubai. Mall after mall is being erected, new office buildings are breaking world records, and when they run out of land, they simply build out into the ocean.
One thing missing so far, was a large public transit system. That is set to change in 2009 when the first portion of the new Dubai Metro opens.
Of course, nothing in Dubai is done partially, so they are working on not one, but two separate lines. The Metro Red line is 50 kilometers with 35 stations and the Metro Green line is 20 kilometers with 22 stations.
The Metro will run using driverless automated trains and links most major locations in Dubai, including the airport, the American university and the city center.
Dubai would not be Dubai if they missed another opportunity to be first with something, so the Metro has sold the naming rights of 23 stations to anyone willing to pay enough.
A 10 year contract for naming your own station will cost about $35 Million. Of course, this includes a full corporate branding of the station itself. One of the first contenders said to have struck a deal is Emirates, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates.
In a nation where status means everything, I have no doubt that the Dubai Metro will find enough companies willing to have their own station. The program is planned to generate $200 Million a year for the Metro operators.
Something tells me US public transit operators will be watching this development closely, and before you know it you’ll be taking the Coca-Cola line to Gadling Central station.