By Neeraj Gangal www.arabianbusiness.com
While thousands of people in Dubai who took to the Metro trains for the first time on Thursday have warmly welcomed it, some users have urged the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to revisit certain rules for the network.
In comments posted on Arabian Business, Metro users said that while they understood that the two-day old metro would witness initial teething problems, the rules pertaining to the metro’s timings, food and drink consumption and baggage allowance should be reconsidered.
Currently, the normal operating hours for the Dubai Metro will be 6am to 11pm, except Fridays, when it will operate from 2pm.
Shailesh, an Arabian Business reader wrote: “I feel the authorities must rethink about the Metro’s timings –the metro should be on all days including Friday, as this will give people more flexibility to travel even on a holiday. Hope the authorities will do the needful.”
Another reader said: “The metro stopping at 11pm – so if we go to see a movie at 9pm (which is probably the busiest time) when we come out of the cinema and want to go home; we have to take a taxi since the metro will be down for the night.”
He added that the rules pertaining to consumption of drink should also be revisited “especially for kids since a ride can take up to 69 minutes”.
Eating and drinking in prohibited areas, specifically inside the train could land a Metro commuter fine of AED100 ($27) to AED500 ($136), the RTA has said.
Commuters are also not allowed to carry large items on board. They would be able take on board only smaller items, such as hand luggage.
In their posts on Arabian Business, some readers argued that this rule would be inconvenient, particularly since most of the Metro stations are linked to the best shopping malls in Dubai and also the international airport. This would mean that the travellers or shoppers would have to resort to cabs or their own private vehicles to carry their heavy baggages.
The rail system opened to the general public on Thursday, but saw some minor hiccups.
One Metro train broke down at midday due to some ‘technical difficulties’, while some ticketing machines at certain stations posed a few problems.
Yet, most of the users expressed pleasure and delight at the Metro’s performance.
Paul Welsh, who travelled on the Metro wrote in his comment on Arabian Business: “I travelled from Terminal 3 to Rashidiya and onwards from there to Mirdif West and my house on the feeder bus (F3). It was very good. It took more time than a taxi but cost only AED2.30 versus AED40 in the cab.”
Dubai-based Roger Hopkins is confident that people will gradually get habituated to use the new transport system. “Habits will take a long time to change, particularly the love affair with the a car. But slowly people will get used to walking or catching a bus to their nearest station. And more and more frustrated with the limited parking options around the city and the cost of parking,” he wrote.
“But the habits will change. In five or six years time, it will be hard to imagine what the city was like without the Metro. The only thing that I would like the RTA to address is the opening hours. Staying open later and opening earlier on a Friday would make it far more useful.”
The Metro project has taken four years to complete but it has risen in costs by an estimated 75 percent.