By Ibrahim Haj Hamad www.khaleejtimes.com
DUBAI — The Dubai Metro will be closed at midnight for maintenance reasons but the timings may be changed after the train system is launched and based on passenger feedback, said a Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official.
Residents had mixed reactions to the timings, with some highlighting that malls closed late. However, mall officials said there will be ample free parking time available.
The metro is shutting down from 12am (midnight) to 6am during Ramadan and 11pm to 6am from Saturday to Thursday and from 12am (midnight) to 2pm on Friday due to maintenance reasons, said Peyman Younes Parham, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications Department, RTA.
“When you look at the number of passengers expected to use the metro on a daily basis, which is around 100,000, and the fact that the metro is a fully automated system, then maintenance has to go on,” said Parham.
Parham said things might change in the future once the metro is operational, more studies undertaken, and more reactions are gathered by the RTA from passengers.
“We want to view Dubai as a public transport city and not just a metro city,” said Parham.
Passengers must not only resort to the metro for all their transportation needs. There are also buses, taxis and in the future, marine transport as well, said Parham.
Starting September 10, customers at Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre will also be charged for parking. However three hours free parking on weekdays and four hours at the weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) will be available to their customers.
“For any customers wanting to watch a movie or go skiing at Ski Dubai, an extra free hour will be provided on both weekdays and weekends,” said Fareed Abdelrahman, Vice-President, Divisional Asset Management for Majid Al Futtaim Properties.
“The new parking system will not deter customers from either shopping or simply window shopping, catching up with friends and families for meals/coffee or even a movie. There is ample free time provided in the system. However we needed to strike a balance and therefore the need to arrive at limited free hours so our spaces are not used as park and ride,” said Abdelrahman.
Tarik Zaki, 24, a HR professional, said it’s logical to close the metro after midnight for maintenance and the people forced to take a taxi will only be a minority. “There won’t be over 1,000 people watching a movie at the mall who want to take the metro home after midnight so late night closure is fair enough,” said Zaki.
Mohammed Taysir, 20, a student at American University of Sharjah, said there are a number of things a person can do after midnight especially if they were watching a movie or enjoying a late night dinner at the mall.
“It would have been a lot better if the metro was running after midnight – then you can have even more time to shop or just to hang around at the mall,” said Taysir.