- Image Credit: Seyyed de la Llata

Dubai: The world’s first and longest driverless metro system is now 11 years old.

Since the moment His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tapped the first Nol card at exactly the ninth second of the ninth minute at 9pm on September 9, 2009, Dubai Metro has transformed the way people move across the city.

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It has become the backbone of Dubai’s public transport system, linking vital parts of the city and providing safe and smooth transport for residents and tourists. It has served over 1.7 billion commuters in the past 11 years.

But beyond the numbers, are the memories and connections people made with Dubai Metro. We share here their first impressions and fondest memories taking the Metro.

First ride

Mohammad Riyaz, Indian banker: I was there when Dubai Metro first opened its doors to the public. It was the day after the official inauguration and I went with my colleagues to take a ride from Burjuman Metro Station to Internet City.

Mohammad Riyaz

Unfortunately, I could not find the photo I took on that day (September 10, 2009) but the memory has been etched on my mind. I was totally impressed by Dubai Metro and since then my daily commute has never been made easier.

Dubai Metro - 1-1599639245164
Dubai Metro has served over 1.7 billion commuters in the past 11 years. Image Credit: Courtesy: Angelo Santos

Joey Tiberio, 55, Filipino entrepreneur: At first I had a small doubt how Dubai Metro would run without a driver. I was very curious and I made sure I was one of its first passengers. I was totally awestruck upon entering the Metro and all my doubts were gone after I took my seat.

Joey Tiberio

First, I really felt secured with the double-safety doors and I was impressed with the highly efficient and synchronised schedule of the Metro with the feeder bus. I think on-time departures of the metro service is above 99 per cent.

Arushi Chaturvedi, 22, Indian finance analyst: I was 11 years old when I took my first Metro ride. Our school has organised a trip and I was with my classmates. It was a great ride that I will never forget.

Arushi Chaturvedi

Now I am a daily commuter and I thank Dubai for presenting such a wonderful gift to us. Taking Dubai Metro is very comfortable, affordable and efficient.

Comfortable and clean

Shehara Rizly, Sri Lankan, travel journalist: When I came to Dubai the first time I took the Metro to go to Dubai Mall. It was in December 2014 and it was so fascinating.

Shehara Rizly

For me, Dubai Metro has been one ride where I actually enjoyed not only the comfort and cleanliness of the cabins but a journey where you would be transported to witness the beautiful city of Dubai, with all its high rise buildings, lush greenery of the golf courses that you will pass by, and the iconic Burj Khalifa is always the highlight of the destination. Thank you to RTA for a fabulous job of maintaining probably one of the best metros in the world.

Best in the world

Dr Angelo Santos, 43, clinical adviser, travel blogger: For anyone who follows my IG posts, I always profess my admiration and gratitude to Dubai Metro. From Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Rome, Bangkok, Moscow, St Petersburg, Budapest, Vienna, Madrid, Athens, Barcelona, Milan, Istanbul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Munich, Bogota, Copenhagen, even Stockholm and many other cities that I’ve been to across five continents, I always say that Dubai Metro is the best, the cleanest, the safest, most passenger and tourist-friendly, most efficient and punctual metro that I’ve ever experienced. I use it on a daily basis.

Dr Angelo Santos

Even at the darkest times of pandemic, Dubai Metro has been ever reliable support to commuting public. Big help! Salute to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority for running the best driverless metro in the world. Congratulations to their 11th year and nd thank you so much for rendering best service to riding public.

Friendly to People of Determination

Omeir Mohammad, 24, Pakistani wheelchair basketball athlete: The first time I took the Metro, I was enthralled by its sophisticated and gorgeous design. But more than that, I was totally impressed by the Metro for being people-of-determination-friendly.

Omeir Mohammad

I love the comfort and accessibility inside the Metro for people of determination, including the tactile floor paths and audio notices to guide visually-impaired persons. I really appreciate Dubai Metro because it allows me to go to my basketball trainings with ease. People of determination can also get free ride at the Metro. All we have to do is get an RTA Nol card, which costs around Dh70, and the card is valid for five years.”

Positive experience

Karim Geadah, Lebanese PR Consultant: Riding the Dubai Metro for the first time when I arrived to the UAE in 2011 was a very positive experience. My first memory and impression taking a ride from the World Trade Centre station and visiting my cousin in Dubai Internet City was that it was extremely clean, especially in comparison with previous countries which I have visited or lived in.

Karim Geadah

I was glad to see that the trip was above ground as underground metros feel a bit gloomy and depressing sometimes. I also found the overall cost of the trip to be very fair, which would eventually be very convenient for me as I had to take the metro every day to work during my first year in Dubai.

Sera Rajapakshe, Sri Lankan PR professional: My first time in the Dubai metro was with my mum. It was so clean I was so amazed by it. I loved the fact that it was really quick from one stop to another and the announcements were both in English and Arabic.

Sera Rajapakshe

The ride from Deira City Centre to Dubai Mall was so incredible with all the interesting areas one will pass and see the beauty of a cosmopolitan city.

Aurangzeb Jabbar, 29, Pakistani senior finance executive:  I came to Dubai in 2014 and I can still remember it was September that year when I took my first Metro trip. I started from Burjuman, one of the busiest Metro stations. There was a large crowd and everyone was in a hurry, yet commuters were organised.

Aurangzeb Jabbar

I went to JLT (Jumeirah Lake Towers) and I totally enjoyed the trip because it was also like a sight-seeing tour for me as the train passed by the iconic Burj Khalifa and other amazing towers along Sheikh Zayed Road. To mark the day, I still have the Nol card I used that day.