By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Avelyn Faris Haddad, who went for a joy ride on Dubai Metro with her family, has been trying in vain for more than a month to contest a fine issued during her journey.
Her ordeal started on December 27, when she took her sister, who was visiting from Syria, on the Metro. Her 20-year-old son also accompanied them. They got Gold Class Cards and they boarded the train from Mall of the Emirates Station.
It was a wonderful journey in the VIP compartment until a metro inspector turned up and checked their cards in routine and found out that one of the cards was not charged.
“I was shocked to hear when the female inspector told me that I would be fined for non-payment of fare on one card,” Haddad, a sales manager in a jewellery shop in the Mall of the Emirates, told Gulf News.
She said she explained to the inspectors that they were three passengers with three cards with enough money to travel and it was not her fault that one of the cards did not work at the machine.
“Also, I tried to explain to her that she has grown up children and belongs to well-off family and that she was on the train only to entertain her visiting sister,” she said, adding that she could not even think of ‘cheating’ for only Dh6.
But, she said the inspector was determined to issue fine and refused to listen to her explanation.
Haddad also called the police officer on duty but was disappointed to hear when the policeman said the issue was beyond his jurisdiction.
“On my refusal to pay fine on the spot and my intention to contest it, the inspector took my sister’s driving licence and gave us a mobile number to get it back after the final decision is taken,” she said.
Haddad called up Dubai Roads and Transport Authority’s toll free number 8009090 and lodged the complaint.
She was promised an answer within three days but she has been calling the number since that day and also went to the RTA’s main Customer Service Centre to follow her case but in vain.
“It is not about Dh200 fine rather it is a matter of principles as I don’t want to pay a wrong fine,” she said.
“I don’t know where to go to contest because there is no system in place to complain against adamant metro inspectors and undue fines and there seems to be lack of co-ordination between the RTA and the Serco — the company which operates Metro and also issues fines,” she noted.
Reaction: Complaints tracked
Dr Aisha Al Busmait, Director the RTA Customer Service Centres Department said the RTA answers any complaint within a maximum of seven days. She said all RTA’s Customer Service Centre has Customer Relations Management (CRM) systems installed and every complainant gets the answer in due course. “We have a complaint tracking system in place as well,” she said, adding that she would look into this particular case.
Sources in the RTA told Gulf News that a number of other people have also complained in the past against the behaviour of Metro inspectors and the strict policy of issuing penalties regardless of consideration of the circumstances.
Following such complaints, the RTA also asked Serco to replace all the expatriate inspectors with Emiratis, who are currently on board the trains to issue fines.