DUBAI – From small businesses to office-goers, residents in the city are looking forward to the opening of Dubai Metro — some for the simple convenience of reaching home early and others depending on the new transport mode to boost their business.
Shoaib Ahmad, 29, supervisor of a cafe at the BurJuman Centre, has been watching the metro station develop outside his windows for more than one year. Red and white barricades have curved around the window for months but recently the glass and steel facade of an entrance to the underground station, began to emerge above the walkway.
The road works haven’t helped business but when the metro opens, the first sight commuters will have as they stride out of the Bur Dubai station will be of his cafe. “We’re expecting a lot of people. A lot of people will want a coffee in the morning,” Ahmad said. Business then is bound to pick up.
Aside from the shopping mall BurJuman Centre, the BurJuman Station also services what is popularly called ‘Bank Street’ as it is lined with the region’s and international banks and some office workers said it will be a convenient commute.
However, Gihad Hemeida, 45, had doubts the service would be used by his bank’s more high-end customers and corporate clients. Hemeida works as the Head of Credit Administration for the National Bank of Fujairah.
“It will be important for the mid-level people. It will also bring customers for the retail businesses.
“But for banks — I don’t think our corporate clients will use it.”
The Egyptian said the metro had been well-received in his home country when it first launched. “Now it is the most convenient project.”
Elsy Varghese was waiting for a public bus at the end of her work day and said she looked forward to an easier commute when the metro started.
“It will be great to catch the train for daily routine things. I finish at the bank at 5 to 5.30pm and the buses are always full.”
Mohammed Khader Ahmad, 35, has lived in Dubai for more than seven years and is working as a home delivery driver for a restaurant in the BurJuman Centre.
He said he usually drives his motorbike to and from Deira and the restaurant, but he says he’ll take advantage of the metro in the hotter months.
“Riding the bike is really hot in summer — especially now it will be nice to take the metro,” he said.
“And quicker too and cheap — it’s a nice price.” Mohammed Motara, 27, a personal development coach holidaying in Dubai from South Africa, said the metro was “the one thing Dubai needed”. “Dubai is okay for getting around but you have to wait a bit for taxis and the Metro would be more accessible. For tourists it will be good to get to shops and the main sights,” Motara said. Bhavika Takur, 32, accountant, was in Bur Dubai to meet a friend and said she would wait a while before trying the metro. “I’m waiting to see how it goes. I won’t use it if it’s crowded. And how safe is it as a girl? This I would want to know. I might use it once a week to visit my friend.”