It was futuristic, when it was launched in 2009. And nobody would have guessed how ubiquitous it would become to everyday living in Dubai.
Today, almost everyone who either lives in or commutes to the emirate has travelled by the Metro. For many, it is a means of daily commute.
This year, 2019, 101.68 million riders used the Dubai Metro just in the first six months. This month, Dubai Metro celebrates its 10th anniversary. We spoke to Gulf News readers about how the Dubai Metro has changed their lives.
‘It has saved me time’
It’s a cool breeze to ride in a Metro! This is how a regular commuter Ena Gale described her journey using the Metro to her workplace for five years now. The Filipina nurse said: “I travel every day in the Metro train to my workplace as it is very clean, convenient and reliable. Trains on the Red Line has an interval of two minutes during peak hours while the Green Line has got five-minute intervals, so it takes me just 15-20 minutes to reach my destination from Deira station to Dubai Mall, where the clinic I work at is located, which is a breeze! Obviously the Metro is faster and cheaper than travelling by a taxi or car since there is no traffic and you have the chance to see the beautiful scenery of the city. A taxi fare will cost me Dh30 from Deira to Dubai Mall, but by Metro it’s less than Dh10.
As a daily passenger, Gale has subscribed to the one-month unlimited Nol (Arabic word for fare) card package at a cost of Dh230 to avail of a huge discount.
She said: “I can save a lot and enjoy unlimited travel with this Nol card. I wish the Metro will extend their operational hours and more frequency of trains especially during peak hours to accommodate more passengers.”
‘Hassle-free travel and big money savings’
Another satisfied Metro commuter Val Cantos Quinzon from the Philippines told Gulf News: “I always feel satisfied whenever I use the Metro as it is organised and the staff keep the Metro tidy.”
Quinzon has been using the Metro for seven years. It is his everyday transportation going to his workplace.
He said: “It is hassle-free, you don’t have to worry about the traffic, and I think it’s the best mode of transport especially during rush hours. So I always travel on the Dubai Metro, since it is the cheapest and easiest way to get around Dubai.”
As a regular passenger to the Metro, Quinzon was able to save a lot and is happy with the journey.
He said: “If you ride a taxi for a short distance, there’s a flag down rate of Dh12 compared to the Metro that costs only Dh3.75, which is a huge difference to the fare, and I could say it is big savings for me.
“I do have a Gold Nol card gifted from a good friend. When you’re in a Gold section, it is more comfortable especially during rush hours as most people in Dubai use regular fare for the Metro, which is too crowded. I wish that the Metro keeps up the good work and good customer service. Perhaps they can increase the time interval of the Metro trains during rush hours.”
‘It has helped me make friends and work on the go’
Bitto P Jacob has been using the Metro from the time he arrived in Dubai, five years ago. Despite having a driver’s licence, the sales executive uses the Metro to make his daily commute to his work place.
Why? Jacob’s occupation requires him to constantly give and receive phone calls and the Dubai Metro allows him to waste no time and do that on the go.
“While driving, I cannot use my phone but I can do that on the Metro. It works out great for me, because I don’t want to miss any client calls,” the 29-year-old said.
“Moreover, there’s no hassle of thinking of where to park or filling up petrol,” he said.
Jacob recalled the time he first came to the UAE in 2014 and was unfamiliar with the workings of the Metro and strangers helped him with routes.
“Now, I make sure I help others, especially tourists, find their way and get the right ticket,” the Indian national said.
He has made a number of friends and important work connections through his travels using the metro.
“I see some people on the daily and we’ve become good friends. I also made connections with people and as a salesperson, it has proved to be useful,” he said.
‘No more time spent in traffic’
Dalvi Abdul Wahab has used the Dubai Metro right from its inception in 2009. The Indian national came to the UAE in 2006 and said that the Metro has made a big difference in his daily life.
“From 2006 to 2009 I used buses and taxis on the regular and that cost me a lot,” he said.
The Metro has not only made his daily commute easy but also when he travels outside of the UAE he finds it much easier to get to the airport. “It takes me 20 minutes to get to the airport from Deira, where I live. Previously, it used to take me a long time due to traffic,” he said.
Abdulwahad said that when he receives relatives from abroad in Dubai, using the Metro to show them around the city has become easy.
“I once went around Dubai and visited three different malls in one day with my children and wife using the Metro. This would have not been possible before this easily,” he said.
‘Discovering the kindness of Dubai Police’
Indian national Vikas Bordiya has a unique memory of his first trip on the Dubai Metro. He laughed as he narrated it. It was 2013, the year he came to Dubai.
He was travelling from the Burjuman station to Jumeirah Lake Towers. As he got out of the Metro and took the escalator down. Instead of standing on the stairs, he used the handrail to slide down. “I was using the handles on stairs and sliding on it like we used to, during childhood.”
Unfortunately, he landed straight in front of a policeman. The 32-year-old accountant said: “He called me and asked for my Emirates ID. As I sheepishly handed it out, he fined me with Dh200. I started requesting him and pleaded with him not to fine me as it was my first time. I was not aware about such rules.”
Bordiya, who is from Gujarat, said: “Thankfully, his heart melted, he returned my Emirates ID and cancelled my fine. And warned me not to repeat it or he would send my Emirates ID copy to every police station across Dubai.”
“Finally, he allowed me to go home,” Bordiya added with a victorious grin.
‘Helped me catch up on reading and be environmentally friendly’
Lost in the pages of an Eric Ambler’s spy thriller novel, Journey into Fear, Anirudha Kusre, 37, waits for the Metro to reach the platform. He has been taking the Metro between Dubai Marina and Business Bay every weekday for the last seven years.
“For me, the most special thing about the Metro is that it helps me catch up on my reading,” said the finance professional who came to Dubai in 2012.
Like many other regular Metro riders, Kusre also greets familiar faces and has chats on Metro rides.
“But, there is something quirky about my metro rides. I have a specific preferred metro compartment when I am commuting to my office, and a different one on my way back home,” the bookworm from Mumbai added.
He gets on the third coach from the gold compartment while going to his office in Business Bay and on his evening trip back to Dubai Marina, he boards the second last coach.
He has realised there are many others who do the same. He said: “I nod at the familiar faces and even wave goodbyes to some at the end of the ride.” He also added that he prefers Metro rides because it “helps incorporate walking” into his daily schedule and also reduced his carbon footprint.