By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Dubai Metro is becoming a favourite commuting option every passing day with more than a million commuters using the service during the Eid holidays.
“We are very pleased with the response from the commuters as [the] number of passengers using the Metro has constantly been increasing,” said Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Rail Operations at the Rail Agency of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). He said the extended hours also attract more commuters.
According to the RTA, around 1,041,269 passengers used the Metro from November 14 to 20 with the maximum number of 177,415 commuters on the second day of Eid on November 17 followed by 173,116 passengers on the first day of Eid on November 16 and 164,048 passengers on the third day of Eid on November 18.
Abdullah told Gulf News there were about 30,000 to 40,000 more commuters than usual. He said on an average, 130,000 people ride the Metro every day.
The number of Metro commuters was even higher on Friday with some 101,533 passengers using the system compared to around 80,000 on normal Fridays. On Fridays the train runs from 1pm to 12 midnight. “We were expecting even higher numbers of commuters but it seems that many people went outside the city during Eid holidays,” he noted.
When asked about a glitch which happened around 9pm on the first day of Eid as no trains were available at Ibn Battuta Mall and hundreds of passengers were left stranded, Abdullah said the passengers were provided with buses. However, he acknowledged that there was some delay in bus service.
“We are holding meetings with the Public Transport Agency to improve coordination and ensure immediate availability of buses for passengers in case of any Metro breakdown and the issue is being sorted out,” he added.
Passengers who got stuck at Ibn Battuta station said that the Metro staff at the station did not guide them properly.
“We are told that the bus will take us to Mall of the Emirates station where the train was available but the bus took us on Jumeirah Road and dropped us in Satwa and we also ended up paying taxi fare in addition to wasting more than one hour on the bus journey,” he said.
He demanded that the RTA improve their coordination in case of any such operational glitches. Public buses are provided at no cost to commuters in case the Metro services is suspended for any technical fault.