By Ramola Talwar Badam www.thenational.ae
DUBAI // Office workers, nannies, technology staff and bank employees have expressed relief that their long, hot trudge to the office has ended as feeder buses have begun serving the Dubai Internet City Metro stop.
Dozens of people who once walked or shared cabs to businesses scattered around the station are now taking buses that run at 20-minute intervals. The service’s start-up came five months after the station opened.
“It is such a relief to see a bus waiting outside the station,” said Suri Paul, who works for a technology firm in the nearby Tecom area. “I wish they had started buses as soon as the Metro began here, but it’s started now and that’s all I care about. It would take me half an hour to walk to work and I was covered in sweat from head to toe when I reached the office,” she said. “The bus is very, very helpful to Metro travellers.”
The service covers commercial and residential blocks in the Tecom and Greens areas as well as local schools and Emirates Hills. The buses are popular because fares are as low as Dh2 compared with a minimum Dh10 taxi ride and journeys are free if the commuter paid for a Metro ticket and boarded the bus within 30 minutes of leaving the station. “I spent too much money on taxis before this bus started,” said Rani Ranasinghe, who juggles two part-time jobs and hopes to send more money to her family in Sri Lanka with the savings. Still, she was not entirely satisfied with the new service.
“Buses should be every 10 minutes,” she said. “That will be fast for all.” The RTA plans to study ridership patterns over the coming months and will increase the number of buses operating from the station if warranted, said Furat Ali al Amri, the director of the agency’s bus department. “If there is more demand we will increase frequency,” he said. “For Burj Khalifa the service is every five minutes but for other stations it can be 30 minutes because of less demand.”