By Jay B. Hilotin, Chief reporter, XPRESS www.gulfnews.com
DUBAI: The next time you doze on Dubai Metro, you could get a rude awakening – and a fine.
This is what happened to a US student who visited her parents in Dubai recently. While on the train from Khalid Bin Waleed station, she dozed off and went past Ibn Battuta station where she was supposed to get off.
A ticketing inspector woke her up at Jebel Ali station, the last south-bound stop on the Red Line. Before she had the chance to regain her composure, she was handed a Dh300 fine. “She was unaware about this rule. She did not do anything bad, just fell asleep,” said a friend of the passenger.
Many people are unaware that sleeping on the Metro could cost them dear. “What’s the great idea about slapping a fine on someone who falls asleep on the Metro?” asked another irate passenger. “Do inspectors get commissions for slapping fines for this non-offence?”
A schedule of fines listed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) inside train stations does not specify people can be fined for sleeping on the train.
The general rule, however, states that a Dh300 fine will be slapped for “sleeping in the waiting areas, shelters or any place where it is prohibited”. Asked why people get fined for sleeping on the train, an RTA official gave a slightly different definition: “It is the rule … [no] sleeping in the waiting areas, shelters or any place in a public transport environment. Fine will be Dh300”.
Two train attendants confirmed to XPRESS that passengers caught taking a nap inside the train may be fined. But one of them gave a qualified answer: “If a passenger falls sleep and snores or disturbs others – by drooling or falling over on to someone else’s space – that can invite a fine.
“As long as they don’t disturb other passengers when they sleep on the train, then it’s OK.”
In general, passengers found harassing, causing inconvenience or discomfort to other users of the public transport face penalties, said the second attendant.
The RTA has published a code defining 31 situations that invite fines ranging from Dh100 to Dh2,000.
Metro rules are displayed on the RTA web page, the handy guide to using the Dubai Metro and http://www.rta.ae/dubai_metro/ and brochure .
- Dh2,000 – using security or safety system such as the emergency exits, unless it’s essential
- Dh500 – damaging, sabotaging or tampering with the systems, equipment and seats of public transport means, facilities or services
- Dh300 – Sleeping in passenger shelters or prohibited areas
- Dh200 – carrying weapons, flammable articles or any hazardous material
- Dh100 – Eating, chewing a gum, drinking, causing disturbance or carrying pets (except guide dogs)