Dubai: Mustafa Gheewala's morning commute was cut by 25 minutes overnight thanks to Dubai Metro's new Green Line which opened on Friday, two years after the inaugural Red Line.
The 31-year old Indian lives near the Palm Deira Station between the fish market and the Hyatt Regency.
He made full use of the first day of public operations Saturday to get to his office near Al Fahidi Station in Bur Dubai.
The newly-opened stations along the 23km track were calm Saturday, sharing nothing in common with the rush of people which flocked through the doors when the Red Line first opened.
"I think this is just because it's an off day and it is the first day," said Gheewala, who used to get the bus.
"This metro is very nice. Instead of taking 30 minutes on the bus and not knowing how traffic would be, I just spent five minutes to get home."
Palm Deira Station in its hues of silver and blue offers great access to not only the fish market but also the Gold Souq and surrounding hotels. A sign has been erected outside the station to warn travellers that fish is not allowed on the trains.
Still and calm
All morning and into the early afternoon Saturday the Green Line stations were surprisingly still and calm.
The new track serves strategic locations along Dubai Creek from the Al Jadaf area, to Healthcare City, and into Bur Dubai where it meets the Red Line at Khalid Bin Al Waleed station and continues on to Al Fahidi, Al Ras, Palm Deira and down the other side of the creek to Union.
From there it heads into Deira's Abu Baker Al Seddiqi street near the Clock Tower, Abu Hail, Al Nahda and terminates at Etisalat station in Al Ghusais.
At Al Ghubaiba station Dr Pam Bhatt, visiting from Malaysia, alighted with her husband.
"It's our first time on the metro and our first impression is that it opened on our wedding anniversary, which is wonderful," she said.
The Bhatts celebrated 22 years of marriage on Friday, the opening day of the Green Line.
"It makes it fantastically easy to get around. It's really very good," she said.
Al Ghubaiba Station is one of two stations, with Al Ras Station, located in Deira that have been built with existing architecture in mind. Due to their proximity to the heritage village in Shindagha and the more traditional feel of the neighbourhoods, the stations are terracotta-coloured, complete with wind towers to blend in with the area.
The spacious stations are set to serve heavily populated and easily congested areas.
As the footfall picked up in Union station, the other connecting station between and Red and Green Line, RTA-appointed ushers showed people the way to their destinations.
Svetlana, 29, from Bulgaria, said: "This is fast and easy now. Looking at the map, I can go to the other side of town."