The issue I wanted to highlight is a very common one on the Dubai Metro. Many of the women commuters may either be experiencing this issue on a daily basis or will know about it. Many a times, men can be spotted in the women and children only cabin in the Metro. It seems to be a causal thing now.
I am a frequent commuter on the Metro and it is nice to see that there are two cabins dedicated to women and children only. Travelling during the peak hours can be tough in general, even for us men. So, I believe it is a good idea to have designated cabins. However, many don’t seem to follow the rules.
The issue mainly occurs in the evening time, when people are returning home from work. Either men enter through the women-only cabin to go to the general compartment or we can see men standing in the women’s cabin. These men have to be told to move out of the cabin and many a times, they do not even bother to comply.
A few days ago, I was travelling on the Metro and spotted a man casually entering the women and children’s compartment and walking towards the general compartment. He was fined on the spot, as there was an officer present at the present location. But, this doesn’t happen always.
I spoke with a few of my friends and it turns out they have also spotted the same thing occurring at different times.
Criselda Augustine, a branch accountant based in Dubai, said: “I usually work a late shift and I leave my office at 8pm. I have to travel from the Deira City Centre Station to Jumeirah Lake Towers Station. The Metro usually gets crowded either from Union Square Station or from BurJuman Station till the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station.
“There is no space to enter the cabin and many a times, we can see a group of men in the women-only compartment. There are rarely any days when I do not have to ask a man to move out of the cabin. There have been heated conversations, too. It really spoils our mood as we are travelling home after a stressful day in the office and this really makes the atmosphere worse.”
Rehana Shah, a service advisor based in Dubai, has also experienced the same issue while using the Metro.
She said: “This is an issue I have faced a few times and I always wonder who I should complain to about it. I can now see this is a big issue. Another thing I have noticed involves families in the evening. Usually, the children along with their father enter the cabin. The fathers are reluctant to move away from their family and have to be enticed to move away. It is a sad sight to see educated men doing this.”
Metro is an efficient and fast way for people to travel and it is sad to see men spoil the ambiance for women. The issue can be controlled to a certain limit by the officers, especially at the crowded stations. The authorities should consider increasing the fine for such offences and messages should be played on the speakers in the cabin highlighting this particular offence.
I do not think passengers can complain on their own on this issue as by the time they reach the concerned authorities the people may have disembarked the compartment by then. In addition, women generally would like to avoid any confrontation with the men.
Fines and officers are the only way these things can be controlled, as it is the well-educated men who seem to be the most callous on this matter.
— The reader is a sales coordinator based in Dubai.
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The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has stated on their official website that there is a fine of Dh100 fine for accessing or sitting in areas designated for specific categories.
According to a Gulf News report published in March 2015, this fine is part of RTA’s endeavours to maintain privacy and comfort of riders onboard the designated cabin.
The reader’s concerns were also raised with the management of RTA. They stated: “As part of our continuous improvement programme, we monitor all aspects of the service we provide to our customers. We have additional teams travelling on trains during peak times who are checking tickets and ensuring people are travelling in the correct compartments. Should a person be in the wrong carriage or be seated in a seat that they are not entitled to, we request they move. If they refuse to move when asked they are issued with an appropriate fine.”