Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thumbs up for the Metro

A visit to Deira was in the diary this morning and I decided to go by Metro.

It's not a novelty for me, I've used the equivalent in other cities all my life but I can understand the excitement for people who haven't experienced it.

For me it works if it gets me from A to B conveniently, easily, comfortably and gives value for money.

Credit where credit's due, the Metro ticked all the boxes.

I was also going to Mall of theEmirates so that solved one of the potential problems, getting to and parking at a station. I parked at MoE and walked through the mall to the station. I was only going to be a couple of hours so the parking was free.

In the station the ticket counter was closed but a staff member, an Emirati lady, was on hand and directed me to the Information counter, which was issuing tickets.

The current ten minutes between trains isn't too bad and I waited only a couple of minutes. Train wasn't crowded, they're clean, modern and comfortable;

The big plus is sailing along SZR relaxing and watching the motorists. Not jammed at 10am but the Defence and Trade Centre roundabouts, and of course the city itself, were very busy. The Metro is a hell of a lot less stressful.

The ride isn't the roller coaster the track suggests it will be, in fact you're hardly aware of all the ups and downs.

I forgot to time it but I guess I was in to Union/Ittihad Station in about twenty minutes. Much less than in the car, no parking problems and much more relaxing than driving.

Coming back, again the ticket office was closed - is that a cost-cutting measure I wonder? I was directed to the ticket machines, by an Emirati male staff member, who talked me through the steps. Actually it's easy enough and the how-to-use information is clear and good.

A couple of other ticks - the trains have a visual and voice information system which tells you the name of the next station, the information signage at the stations is clear, the stations have good clear local area maps - or at least there's one at Union Station so I assume the others also have them.

The staff were on hand and helpful, and it was interesting to see Emiratis in such non-executive positions, which goes against the general view of the jobs they will do.

A problem I can see in future when all the stations are open is the time a journey will take. The stations are very close together - I took this shot as we pulled into one station and the previous, currently not open, station is very close:

But that aside, it works very well and it'll certainly be my preferred transport if it goes where I need to go.

I have visitors coming in to T3 and I'd be tempted to meet them and bring them back on the Metro rather than driving - but bizarrely you can't take luggage onto the train. There's not a lot of point having a train servicing an airport if luggage isn't allowed on it.

So, there are a few things to be looked at but overall they seem to have done well.


Aadil.Kazi said...

The more stations that open will increase journey time however it will give users more flexibility.

The London Underground has lots of stops on many lines but works well even though stations in the the centre are very close to each other.

Nice review and it seems like it is working. Do you think you will use it more regularly?

Paraglider said...

It's looking good. I've not used it yet but next week I'll be in Dubai and travelling between Bur Dubai and Media City, so I'll certainly give it a go.

Anonymous said...

I have used it and would echo your views.

And I really would like to use it more, and taxis less, as it is so cheap, but the station nearest to my office is not open yet (the one near Safa Park/Emirates Holidays building) and there are no feeder buses from the next nearest station open, which is about 3km away on Shaikh Zayed Road.

So I would need to get a cab and negotiate all the traffic on Defence Interchange which kind of defeats the object.

Plus I live in International City which has no feeder buses to Rashidiya, the nearest station.

I really can't understand why a the largest low-cost development in Dubai is so abysmally served by public transport.

We are crying out for more bus routes there. At the moment there is only one, the X23 which is good, but if you need to get anywhere in the city other than Bur Dubai (ie, Marina, Jumeirah, MoE, Shaikh Zayed Road) from International City you are pretty stuffed. I hope the RTA, which seems to be grasping the nettle, albeit slowly, will take note.

Anonymous said...

I planned to go to T3 by metro for my next flight to Europe and I was totally unaware that you can't carry luggages on the train so thanx for the tip Seabee!

Legen------wait for it ------dary said...

hey there,

I am new to follow your post ... I ended up at your blog while I was searching for complaints against Sharaf DG (don't ask me how?? I just googled it)

apart from that ...nice to hear good things about metro ... as I am a part of the construction team (on the contractors side) ... we are not allowed to speak in public about any details of the metro ..

(Coincidence)I too traveled the metro today that too from MOE to Union (had to make it to a meeting at our HO) .... this was my second time and I must admit the crowd that are traveling now are more genuine ... not like at the start ...metro was a tourist attraction ... but now you can see people actually using it for work and not for fun ....

I don't know how you people feel ... but for people who were involved in it (the behind the scene guys) it gives out immense pleasure to see that it serves its purpose and came out well ... so from everyone in my Company and the whole Construction team I would like to thank you for this post (thumbs up)

awesome ....

Seabee said...

Aadil, I agree with you about the London Underground stations being very close, but your key words are "in the centre".

In the suburbs the stations are much farther apart and that compares with Sheikh Zayed Road, which is what I was referring to.

In city centres cars are really not an alternative but out of the city centre they are. If people want to get about in New Dubai it will be quicker and more convenient to drive their car rather than take the Metro.

Paraglider you can catch the Metro from Burjuman in Bur Dubai to Mall of the Emirates and then feeder bus (I think) or taxi to Media City.

Anon@7.32 yes, it's a real anomaly to not allow luggage for airport passengers. Maybe it's so that the (VIP) owners of the taxi fleet don't lose revenue). Our beloved RTA say that if they get 'a lot' of requests (and a spokesman on radio said 10,000!!!) they would reconsider the ban.

Legendary welcome to the blog. Every so often I check how people arrive here and your search question was a normal one - you'd be surprised at the very strange questions people google to arrive here.

Rose in Dubai said...

Hey Legendary, if you're going to start a complaints against DG Sharaf blog let me know!!

Legen------wait for it ------dary said...

I am really pissed off at Sharaf DG .... I got my i pod classic from there ... and now after seven months ..all of a sudden it is dead ... I went to the DCC store .. they asked me to go to Times Square store .... and also told me to check at the apple store in Bur Dubai ... obviously I went to the apple store ... and guess wot ... the apple guy told me that the piece I've got is a Grey market piece and they wouldn't repair it ... as it was smuggled to Dubai ...

unfortunately I can't get hold of my invoice .... my ipod is still under warranty ... but without an invoice I don't think the Sharaf Dg guys would replace it ...

I am mad at me for loosing the invoice too .. but guys right now I am stuck in really bad situation.....

Seabee said...

L, your real problem of course is that you don't have the invoice to prove you bought it there. If you can find that (or maybe a credit card statement?) there's no proof that they sold you an illegal product.

The run-around with people sending you from one place to another is a typical example of the customer service we get here.

Elle said...

So if you can't take luggage on the metro to/from the airport terminal who is actually using that station? What a waste if it's just standing there!
We used the Metro a few weeks after it openned and I vowed never again. But after your post CB, I think I might just give it a second chance.

Seabee said...

Elle, to my simple mind if you build a station at the airport you must allow passengers to take luggage on the train. If you don't allow luggage then don't waste money building airport stations.

Paraglider said...

Seabee - thanks for the itinerary :)

Dubai City Information said...

is this a joke or some sort of reform in process? why would any government do that?

Anonymous said...

Seabee, I was listening to a spokesman from the RTA on eth Business Breakfast a few weeks ago and the question was put to him about luggage. His response was that a single case per passenger was allowed (presumably of the rollabout type although I can't remember if he actually said so). I think there could be safety and access issues if a person was trying to handle several cases plus shrink-wrapped bundles all at once.

Seabee said...

Anon@9.38, the RTA website says:
The RTA has said that it may increase the luggage allowance for Dubai Metro passengers if “tens of thousands” of users ask for it.
Officials at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) explained two weeks ago that Dubai Metro passengers are only allowed to carry hand luggage, but they would consider increasing the luggage allowance if a significant number of users call for it.

Website is

Dubai said...

Nice to hear about every day life in Dubai:)