Dubai: Dozens of workers and businessmen are trying to establish their livelihoods after they had to close shop in Al Ghubaiba Bus Station in Dubai.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, operators said the shops — around four small restaurants and about three retailers of perfumes, sunglasses, and toys — were told around six months ago to vacate by December 31, 2018.
A shopkeeper said he was told by the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) that it would take at least six months for renovation of the place and then they could rent the shops again if they wanted to do so. RTA was not available to comment on the project.
The shops were housed in a small complex located in the middle of the huge bus station, a busy terminal for public transport riders of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai. The complex includes a prayer area and washrooms, which remain open.
Some shop managers and businessmen have been working at the complex for more than 25 years. “We had to let go of 15 employees. We are looking for a new location and if we find something suitable, we can re-apply for their visas. Otherwise, they will be going home,” said a restaurant manager.
“Altogether, around 72 people worked here (in the whole complex) — around 50 Indians and the rest being mostly Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. I don’t know how many visas have been cancelled because of the closure. But all the shops are gone.”
He added that “business was good” at the complex and his outlet still had a year left in the three-year lease.
“We are looking for a place to set up shop again but other places are expensive. I used to pay just Dh11,000 per year in rent (in Ghubaiba) and the customer footfall was good because it’s a major bus stop — there are always passengers here,” the businessman said.
“I’ve been in Dubai for 40 years, I cannot just leave without trying to find an alternative here first. So far, nothing suitable has come up, but I’m still looking