Ibrahim Haj Hamad www.khaleejtimes.com
DUBAI — Nearly 40,000 cars were off the road, thanks to Dubai Metro, a big step towards reducing the second main source of carbon emissions, according to transport and environment officials.
Calculations by the Roads and Transport Authority, which runs the Metro, based the figure on 64,000 people using the train system on Saturday alone and Dubai statistics that say there are 1.6 occupants per car.
“It would mean that the Metro helped get around 37,000 cars off Dubai roads,” said Peyman Younes Parham, Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications at the authority.
Sa’ad Al Numairy, Environmental Advisor, Ministry of Environment and Water, said the Metro, by providing an integrated public transport system with connections from buses to trains, would cut down significantly on car use and harmful emissions.
“Road transport is the second main source of local emissions, and that number is increasing with respect to population rate of Dubai, as it is one of the biggest trading cities in the world,” said Al Numairy.
Emissions include benzene, carbon dioxide, sulfur and nitrogen oxides. They are harmful to humans and also contribute to the greenhouse effect, according to Al Numairy.
However, commuters were kept in their seats for more than an hour early Sunday afternoon after delays again hit the system when, on many occasions, passengers hit the train emergency buttons without cause.
Parham warned that a fine of Dh2,000 would begin from Monday. With 3,000 cameras operating between stations and inside the train, tracking down offenders would not be difficult.
“We are happy that people are using the Metro for personal as well as professional reasons, so to ensure the comfort of our passengers, we are going to implement a Dh2,000 fine upon anyone pushing the emergency button without justification from Monday,” said Parham.
He said the authority had held off issuing the fines earlier in the weekend so passengers could enjoy their first Metro experience. “But after many interruptions, we are now forced to implement the fines,” said Parham.
Pushing the button made the Metro go into emergency mode and stop at the nearest station. The train was also delayed on Friday for the same reason and Parham said this was why the system had not been running efficiently.
“Despite the frequent stops, we are extremely happy that the Metro was able to get off emergency mode and continue operation in 30 minutes.”
RTA has buses on standby at every Metro station.
Slight hitches have not dented commuter enthusiasm: Sheikh Ahmed expected the train system would have a big impact on Dubai’s environment.
Another passenger, Waleed Akl, 22, student from the Canadian University in Dubai said, “I really enjoy the ride — the Metro makes you see Dubai in a completely different perspective.”