Dubai Metro:Rush and glitches

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    XPRESS    www.xpress4me.com

    Widespread glitches and a huge rush marked the first week of Dubai Metro’s launch, but ignorant passengers were not the only culprits who stalled trains, XPRESS has learnt. Sources said mechanical faults also led to delays, but the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) promptly blamed overzealous passengers. Here’s an account of what happened since 09.09.09:

    The first ride: Commuters wait to have their tickets ‘read’ before boarding the Metro on the first day of its public launch at the Union Square station in Dubai © XPRESS/Virendra Saklani
    The first ride: Commuters wait to have their tickets ‘read’ before boarding the Metro on the first day of its public launch at the Union Square station in Dubai © XPRESS/Virendra Saklani

    September 10

    A fully-loaded train stalled near the Mall of the Emirates station for over two hours when a pneumatic cable that controls the train doors snapped, prompting the driverless train to cut short the trip at 9.30am, sources said.

    September 11

    Hours before the opening at 2pm on Friday, people formed long queues at the stations. And within two hours of its opening, around 30,000 passengers rode the Metro. At the Mall of the Emirates station, police intervened to allow only 200 people to board the train as an impatient crowd started pushing.

    September 12

    Security cameras captured boisterous youngsters and ignorant passengers pressing the emergency break buttons, causing the trains to switch to manual mode and stop at the next station.

    Intervention by controllers took time as they investigated what went wrong. This caused massive delays. Though traction power from the third rail that supplies electricity to trains kept passengers cool, such incidents prompted the RTA to issue a warning that anyone pressing the emergency buttons on a whim will be fined Dh2,000.

    September 13

    Unauthorised welding work at the Union Square station triggered a fire alarm, sending the entire train system on emergency mode. Trains across the system were stalled for about an hour. After 30 minutes of waiting, some passengers at the Mall of the Emirates demanded a refund of their ticket fare.

    September 15

    The Metro took 44,155 passengers, pushing up the total number of Metro passengers since 09.09.09 to 323,996. Incidents of pushing sent tempers running high as people disregarded basic etiquette.

    RTA has distributed for sale (but not necessarily sold) over 530,000 Nol access cards since the launch, sources said.

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