Eugene Harnan www.thenational.ae
DUBAI // Commuters took to the Metro yesterday morning, eager to see whether it would get them to work on time after the weekend’s reports of delayed trains and queues at stations.
Roads and Transport Authority officials said 64,000 people had used the Metro on Saturday, giving the Red Line a total of 178,000 passengers in its first three days of public operation.
At the start of the system’s first full week of operation yesterday, some people left their cars at home and took taxis to Nakheel Harbour and Tower, while others took advantage of the station’s free parking for 3,000 cars.
“I wanted to see what it was like,” said Aurialle Boulanc, from France, who was on her way to her office in the Financial Centre.
“I took a taxi from Jumeirah Lakes Towers to the Metro station, which cost me about Dh10,” she said.
She estimated that she would save some Dh500 (US$136) a month if she continued using the Metro instead of making the entire trip by taxi, as she had done previously.
Amr Mohammed also left his car at home and took the Metro, despite the problems the system had over the weekend. “I want to see if it gets me to work before nine,” said the Canadian sales manager, who works for Etisalat, next to the Al Jafiliya station.
“If it does, I’ll use it every day. It’s more convenient this way and I can get to read on the way to work.”
Another passenger who was more familiar with rail commuting was Louise Oliver from London.
“I thought I’d try it out just to see how it is and if it is quicker than by car, which is usually 40 minutes,” said the engineer, who drove to Nakheel Harbour and Tower, three stops away from her office in the Burjuman Centre.
Pointing at her book, she added: “It’s part of the reason why I took the Metro. I’m missing my days of being in London on my way to work.”
Ravshan Iskhakov from Russia, who works in the Dubai Financial Centre, was not bothered by the weekend’s delays, nor by a short stroll in the morning sun, even in his suit. “It is only a five-minute walk to my office,” he said. “If I reach my office by 9am, I’ll take it every day.”
Harry Persad, an accountant from India, said: “It will change my entire life because I used to drive to work in the Financial Centre and spent most of my time looking for parking around there.
“In the evenings, I’d spend an hour getting back to my apartment in Bur Dubai.
“Now it takes five minutes to walk to the station and another 15 minutes to get to my desk and costs me basically nothing.”
Mohammad Tiak, an electronics technician from Pakistan, spent at least an hour every day before last Thursday, travelling by bus from Deira to work in the Financial Centre.
“It has saved me a lot of time and is only 30 fils more expensive,” he said.
R Srinivasan, an Indian travel consultant, used to take a bus from Discovery Gardens to his office in Financial Centre.
“It takes about the same amount of time on the Metro as it does on the bus but the Metro is a lot more reliable,” he said.
“I now know the Metro will be every 10 minutes whereas I could wait up to half an hour for a bus to take me to work.
The feeder buses to the station were also running every 10 minutes, he added.