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Fri 11 Sep 2009 04:05 PM

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Metro users urge authorities to revisit timings rules

Metro enthusiasts want Dubai's RTA to rethink rules about timings & baggage allowance.

Metro users urge authorities to revisit timings rules
DUBAI METRO: Dubais new rail system was launched at 9.09pm on Wednesday by Dubais ruler Sheikh Mohammed.(Getty Images)

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.

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Gerald 11 years ago

From Nakheel Harbor & Tower to Rashidiya in 1 minute and 50 seconds! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF5LQeaetcc

Joe 11 years ago

Can someone please confirm if the only luggage allowed is a handbag!!! If so, why have a metro station at the airport. It defeats the whole purpose. I think one piece of luggage with a reasonable size is allowed. Appreciate if someone can confirm this.

Shaz 11 years ago

Is it good to make a news based on poiint of view of 'fewer people' and include point of view of majority just as a line. I believe Food and Drink ban on metro is an excellent decision. Obviously its understood that you can drink water. Do you really want people bringing tea / coffee into metro ? Regarding the timing issue , I believe RTA would have found out optimal timings instead of running full metro system for sake of handful people. Afterall trains need time off for maintenance. Metro shuts down for only 7 hours during Ramdhan and 6 hours afterwards. Do you really need to use it in those six hours when roads are absolutely empty ???

Jebel Ali Baba 11 years ago

What is a public transportation system worth, that is not available 24/7? Why don't operate a manless trainsystem all around the clock? And when will the stations still under construction be available? So far the Dubai Metro is a ultra-expensive gadget but not worth even a thought.

Paul Ransted 11 years ago

I agree with the request to change the timings....the trains do not have a driver, the ticketing is machine driven....so little staff are needed. I do understand the need for maintenance windows...but Friday is the day when most people have the day off. Wouldnt it be better to allow people to travell all day? I would suggest a 05:00-02:00 window for the Metro...every day. That gives 3 hours for maintenance of the track.

Maroun 11 years ago

There is only one lane for the ticket counters, none of the electronic machines work to purchase your ticketThere are hidden signs of WC facilities, no lost and found facilities, no information desks, not enough recognized staff to help.Thanks to Dubai Police we were told that we were blocking the way of ticket counter while waiting in line with baby strollers !I have never seen this any where in Europe or Asia.There is no taxi or bus stands at each train station to help us travel to the next destination, There arn't enough dirction signs as to where and what you can find. Thank you RTA for your efforts.

Ana 11 years ago

The metro is really impressive ! Authorities need to revisit the timings 'coz people are out late into the night - it needs to be operational until 1 pm atleast - especially weekends. Regarding the food and drinks - please DO NOT allow it. While on the metro, I saw people walk in, take a seat and put up their legs ! What nonsense ! No attendant noticed this or fined them - in this manner in a few days time the seat will be absolutely soiled - PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

ANIL MATHEW 11 years ago

I am actually beginning to wonder why the Metro was ever built in the first place if it is going to have so many restrictions on timings and baggage. Does the RTA expect only well-heeled businessmen to travel on it? If so, they have it wrong. Most well-heeled businessmen will not get out of their Jaguars lest they get wrinkles or tans. The Metro has to be relevant to every traveller that wants to use it - from people with large loads from shopping malls and fish markets to large suitcases bound to and from the airport. And it should be available at least 20 hours a day and not just 17 hours. Unless the Metro is truly useful as it is in super-cities like London, Chennai, Mumbai and New York, it will end up being another white elephant of Dubai.

mukhtar 11 years ago

As karama station is not operational now, feeder services should be provided from jaflia and khalid bin valid station to karama station so resident of karama also can use metro.

Shahid 11 years ago

I travelled on Metro from Mall of the Emirates(MOE) to T3 at the Airport and back. My Observations are as follows:- 1. Staff at MOE were very slow to respond except for the Station Manager who was really Customer Oriented. 2. Ticket Counter staff was most in-efficient I have ever seen. I was in Queue for over 40 minutes without moving an inch forward towards the ticket window. Slower then a snail! 3. Information desk did not know the ticket price or anything about Day Pass that was advertised in Gulf News brochure of Friday. 4. Inside the train the support staff (Girls) were arrogant and clueless. There were no marked compartments for ladies & children. People were allowed to enter through a compartment and when the trained departed, they were rudely told that this is ladies only areas so get out or you will be 'fined'. 5. Train timings require a review or else remove T3 stop and Emirates HQ stops. No point in serving Airport if the train will start at 6.00 in the morning till 2300hrs on weekdays as most of the flights are between 0300hrs till 1000 in the morning and 1800hrs till midnight. Similarly Emirates HQ starts at 0700hrs so staff will not be able to travel on Metro and reach on time, so why have this station at all? Lastly, I fail to understand why does metro start at 2.00pm on Fridays ? Public transport needs to be made available to commuters during day time and with some gaps during the night specially for public places such as shopping malls, Airport etc. Airport train must allow baggage or else it beats the purpose as people do not travel without baggae (At least one suitcase). Look at how UK, France, US and Canada handle these services.