Sunday, May 02, 2010

More Metro nonsense

A problem that shouldn't have happened, no information for those affected, waffle that insults our intelligence from the official spokesman.

Situation normal then.

The Metro had another technical fault yesterday, this time to do with the signals the trains send back to the computer, so trains were stopped on most of the system for three to four hours.

Inevitably, passengers complain that they were given no information, had no idea what was happening, they were just shuttled about on buses.

Lack of communication is exactly what I complained about last week, when the Metro's last 'technical issue' inconvenienced passengers but they were told nothing.

Seven new stations were opened on Friday and additional trains were added. You'd assume that it would all be tested and any problems fixed before the public was invited to use it. Yet it all ground to a halt during peak time.

But according to Pehyman Younes Parham, Director of Marketing and Communication for the RTA, such technical issues are normal and to be expected.

Oh really.

It's just the same old comment that's been used before, an insult to our intelligence repeated yet again to explain away a problem that should not have occurred.

Last week's technical issues were to be expected too, according to Mr Parham after that episode.

I realise it's alien thinking to companies here but what I think should be 'normal and to be expected' is that technical issues are all sorted out before something is opened to the public.

The Metro system is closed for seven hours during weekday nights and for fifteen hours Thursay/Friday. Time enough, I would have thought, for the necessary testing to be carried out, any glitches fixed and the system running efficiently before the public was encouraged to use the new stations and extra trains.


I've always thought that the worst thing any company can do is set the bar for achievement so low that the target is 'we're no worse than anyone else'. I was reminded of this during Mr Parham's interview on DubaiEye radio this morning.

He began by saying that the Metro has been benchmarked against other similar systems around the world and guess what - we're no worse than them.

That's OK then, if that's the lofty goal that's been set.

Then the old 'it's to be expected' excuse was trotted out yet again to explain away the problem.

On behalf of several listeners who complained about the total lack of communication he was asked what the RTA had done to tell inconvenienced passengers what was going on. He took the time-honoured route and ignored the question, waffling on about something entirely different for a couple of minutes.

In true UAE journalistic style the question wasn't repeated and he wasn't pushed for an answer.

The answer I suppose comes from the passengers - nothing was done to tell them what was going on.

True to the Dubai customer service ethic, something is opened before it's ready, infuriated customers are given no information at the time they're being inconvenienced, then are later told it's all perfectly normal.

Gulf News has the report here.

31 comments:

Oussama said...

The RTA should learn from the airlines on how crucial communication is during delays and disruptions. A visit to any of the national carriers would help tremendously on understanding how their Emergency Response Plans tackle major disruptions.

Stained said...

This is what happens when the main users of a system have no rights in the country...

I'm glad I don't use the metro anymore...

Bruno said...

To the author:

I have been following your blog for a while now. Long before I came to visit to investigate for a potential move to the UAE. I find your blog interesting and informative.

However, now that I have been in the country for a month I can't help but wonder if you are French? With all due respect, you seem to be doing a lot of whining and complaining about this country. And this regardless of the incredible structural, political, cultural, economic and social accomplishments in such a short period of time!

You cannot pretend to realize such transformational evolution so rapidly without some problems along the road. And considering the scale of the change brought about since I last visited in '95 I find the issues to which you call the readers' attention comparatively and relatively bearable.

To Stained:
I would suggested you learn from Oussama and in the future make your comments more constructive and respectful to your host country.

Definition of a guest: One who is a recipient of hospitality at the home or table of another.

No matter how terrible you might find your host, it is highly unethical and immoral to be so blatantly and openly critical a the table of your host.

Respectfully,

Bruno DeGourville

Doug Freeman said...

Bruno:

Are you insinuating that all that is written by this Blog owner/author is made up, not true, and contrary to each alphabet?

I don't deny the transformation that has taken place in this young country. But, there's a lot more to life (ethics) than just superficial elegance, don't you agree?

With all due respect, whoever you may be but until you start your own blog, present facts to the contrary, counter people intelligently & in a civilized manner, you could be anybody if not a troll. Think about it!

Mohammad said...

Definition of a guest: One who is a recipient of hospitality at the home or table of another.

No matter how terrible you might find your host, it is highly unethical and immoral to be so blatantly and openly critical a the table of your host.


Does a guest have to pay for staying at the host's home, because all expats rent homes here.

Does a guest have to pay for food, because in my culture at least, a guest stays for free.

I can bring in 10 points, but these 2 points alone show that your likening of expats to "guests" is wrong.

Are you one of those who thinks Dubai = Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and brunches at 5 star hotels?


People like stained, Seabee, and myself have been here a longer time than you have, and we are are well-wishing residents which is why we point out many things that can be done better; what I personally abhor is brown-nosing people who are actually doing a great disservice to the UAE when they pretend the bad things that go on dont exist.

And a month wil never give you a good idea of this place; unless you are a hotel-toting expat, in which case even 10 years here will make you oblivious to issues that common people face

Stained said...

@Bruno If the host is trying to feed me uncooked fish while calling it roast beef, I'm going to tell him it's uncooked fish instead of eating it just because he's feeding me...

Seabee said...

Bruno, your comment: "I can't help but wonder if you are French?...you seem to be doing a lot of whining and complaining about this country" is an inexcusable insult to French people.

I'll just respond to your other comments by repeating what Mohammed said:

"we are are well-wishing residents which is why we point out many things that can be done better; what I personally abhor is brown-nosing people who are actually doing a great disservice to the UAE when they pretend the bad things that go on dont exist"

Bruno said...

Dear Doug:

You say:"Are you insinuating that all that is written by this Blog owner/author is made up, not true, and contrary to each alphabet?"

Common Doug! What is your education and English level? Where did I ever make any insinuation of the sort? Although English is not my native language, it is clear for who wants to steer clear from popular demagoguery and polemics that I made no such remark, not even remotely.
All I said is that, although I find the blog interesting and informative (notice Doug the present tense!), I find the critics a little bit too much. It was merely an impression and opinion and in no way construed as a general criticism of the blog itself as a whole.

I visited and lived in many different countries, and always found tasteless and poor judgement on the part of visitors or new settlers the constant reminder of what is wrong or what is different from back home. Be it Dubai, the US, England Australia or China. That's it.
When I'm in the US and I hear Mexicans or French people ranting on what's wrong with the US I cannot but feel embarrassed by such lack of moral integrity and manners. When I'm in London and I hear Pakistanis rant about what's wrong with England I cannot but feel embarrassed by such lack of moral integrity and manners. And when I'm in Dubai and I here expatriates (hint:not sure why foreigners in other countries are called immigrants but here in Dubai they love to call themselves expatriates?!?!?) rant just a bit too much about what's wrong with this country, I cannot but feel resentment before such double standard and blatant injustice and impartiality. In the US people would tell you to go home.

And please don't try to be dignified and respectful. You're obviously not the type: I am a troll. But an educated well traveled one that can read people's comment for what they are and not what I want them to be.

Mohammad:

I'll tell you what I abhor: it's people who can't read a news article or a comment on a blog and understand it for what it is. But hey! We are still part of the same human community and I have to live and respect them, don't I?

"Are you one of those who thinks Dubai = Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and brunches at 5 star hotels?"

I could be a snooty arrogant rubbing it in (if that's what you meant by "brown-nosing" you) and tell you as far as I am concerned yes. But I think it's only part of the picture. I think Dubai is also a bunch of people coming here for money, grid, career advancement or to show off. I think it's also people from all over the world who didn't have better professional options. I think it's also people from all walks of life, from all levels of education and with each a different sense of civility, respect and tolerance. I think it's also a lot of racists who love to think of the culture to which they associate as the superior one. And racism I have witnessed a plenty in just one month. And from absolutely every ethnic group: from the local Emirati to the Filipino and the Brit! No exception. And to try to fit that bunch of people peacefully in such a tiny place as Dubai is a fit of accomplishment in and of itself.

But Dubai and the UAE is also much more than that, much more positive and respectful people who didn't all come for the money or out of despair.

As to your position regarding foreigners being guests, I can only assume your level of intelligence and education.

Peace.

Bruno DeGourville. ( yes I know Mohammad, one of those snooty arrogant dude with an aristocratic name! Sorry bro.!)

Mohammad said...

Bruno

You were the one who equated expats here to guests, insinuating that just as a guest doesnt "complain" to the host, expats shouldnt "complain" either.

There is a world of difference between,

"The RTA always screws up when it comes to communicating and Etisalat is a rip-off"

and

"Dubai is horrible and backwards"

Statement Number 1 is a perfectly legitimate complaint that even expats are entitled to make.

Statement number 2, would be offensive if said by any foreigner in any country....


You seem to have a problem distinguishing "constructive criticism" from "bashing".

And it is this exact attitude that causes real errors to be swept under the carpet.
If I point out that something is wrong in an organization, then someone like you will jump and accuse me of not being grateful and bashing the organization

So next time, I will just keep quiet and let the problem snowball into something bigger.

Mohammad said...

Definition of a guest: One who is a recipient of hospitality at the home or table of another.

No matter how terrible you might find your host, it is highly unethical and immoral to be so blatantly and openly critical a the table of your host.


As to your position regarding foreigners being guests, I can only assume your level of intelligence and education.


Your 2 statements above show you equated foreigners to being guests and then you proceeded to claim I was the one saying foreigngers were guests !

Bruno said...

Stained:

It is your right indeed to say so. But you might not have an other meal coming anytime soon. Why would you stay at his table?

If you have better option: fine! Go for it. But there is a hospitality etiquette that in my opinion ought not to be ignored just because your host is trying to make you believe. People seem to have lost the art of true hospitality and its etiquette.

I just don't like people coming to my home and start ranting and telling me how to think behave or speak, as horrible a person as I might be. It's common decency. You don't like it: go home! It's that simple. It's valid in NYC, London or Dubai.

Seabee:

I am French too, born and raised. So I am entitled to this license. The French are indeed constantly whining and complaining when they travel abroad. It is a fact.

"well-wishing residents":

one cannot pretend to be a well-wisher, and we have only yours and Mohammad's words for that, when criticism and negativity start to be the dominant impression reading your blog. No matter how well intentioned you might be.

Don't take things personal, and go back to your posts in the past couple of years and try to gauge how you fair statistically. It is really a lot of complaining and criticism.

Bruno DeGourville

the real nick said...

Dear Mr. Bruno,

I congratulate you on your choice of Dubai as your place of residence and wish you all the best in your new role as PR manager of the RTA.

Yours sincerely,

Nick

Doug Freeman said...

And please don't try to be dignified and respectful.

Bruno:

I'm not trying anything. I follow what's called Blog Etiquette especially since I regularly read this informative blog and post comments here.

I also stand by my earlier comment especially - But, there's a lot more to life (ethics) than just superficial elegance, don't you agree?. And I believe in criticism, as it enables one to understand/realize their flaws and take corrective measures.

Suhail said...

I tend to agree with Bruno.

Seabee,You do complain and whine a lot!

There must be something positive that makes you stay in Dubai.

Can you share with us more of the positive stuff please?

Seabee said...

Bruno, to clarify a a couple of points you raised:

First, I have never said, on this blog or anywhere else, that 'things are better back home". In fact in the two or three posts where I've compared the two I've pointed out that the problems (such as traffic) are much the same or are worse (such as the time construction takes) back in Australia.

I've also pointed out the similarities between Dubai's problems and Singapore's. But never have I said that Dubai is inferior.

Second, (for you too Suhail) in much the same way as the mainstream media has far more 'bad news' stories than 'good news' stories, the things that spur me to write tend to be the frustrations caused by bad planning and bad business practices. The things that let Dubai down.

I do write 'good news' posts - for example I said 'thumbs up for the Metro' originally but subsequent problems and the handling of them has, IMO, justified criticism. I said JBR is good, but I criticised the 'no photo' policy.

Funnily enough I come in for huge criticism, especially in overseas blogs and media, for being a cheerleader in defending Dubai against what I believe is unfair or inaccurate reporting.

My response to Johann Hari's and Isaac's pieces come to mind and there are many others (you'll find them if you check back on my labels such as misreporting, brand Dubai,journalism). Look at the abuse I got in the comments too.

By your criticism "(hint:not sure why foreigners in other countries are called immigrants but here in Dubai they love to call themselves expatriates?!?!?)" and "As to your position regarding foreigners being guests, I can only assume your level of intelligence and education"
you're showing a complete lack of understanding. We cannot be immigrants, we can only be here as temporary guests with three year residence visas. That's why we're expats, guests, and not migrants.

"In the US people would tell you to go home." Infantile stupidity which is common all over the world from very stupid people, including in the UAE. Check through some of the comments on this or any blog and you'll find the same crass statement.

The indiginous population and the immigrants, residents, visitors or anyone else affected by bad decisions, bad planning, bad practice has the right, some would say duty, to raise the issues. In any country.

blue-eyed floozy said...

Seabee, I've found your blog to be one of the most intelligent and sensible ones out here for what life here is like. Both your criticisms and your defenses of Dubai and the UAE are fair and levelheaded.

I'm leaving Dubai in a week but I'll still be reading your blog.

Seabee said...

floozy, thank you. I try to be honest talking about things as I see them and I try to be balanced - although I agree the irritating things tend to set me off!

Safe journey.

blue-eyed floozy said...

Yep, is possible to be really really set off and still be able to present things in an intelligent, well-thought-out manner.

And thanks!

Bruno said...

Seabee:

You're letting your ego get in the way of a constructive criticism and choose to make it personal.

I never said you don't post positive comments about the country. But rather that you tended to be very negative and critical in your mind set and overall approach of this country.

But thanks to you for clarifying that it is more a personality treat than a stance. I know now that what "spur[s] [you] to write tend to be" very negative emotions. Namely frustrations. Had I known it was your motivation I wouldn't have bothered pointing out your innate negativity.

Furthermore, your very selective definition of the word immigrant shows once more that you refuse to look back at your blogging contribution with fairness and humility.

An immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country. Be it on a permanent basis or temporary one. The Mexicans coming on a temporary agricultural visa to California for the seasonal harvest are still immigrants. So are what you call the expatriates. Be they in Dubai on a 3 year renewable work visa or under any other legal terms set by the host country.

Bruno DeGourville

Seabee said...

Bruno, I have no 'very selective definition' of the word immigrant. I suggest you check the word in a dictionary and also learn what it means in common useage.

As for my ego getting in the way of constructive criticism and making things personal, I have no idea what you're talking about. I simply answered your comments.


I find it illuminating that when you complain about something you say it's 'constructive criticism', yet my constructive criticism is a complaint.

You find this blog to "be doing a lot of whining and complaining" and "criticism and negativity start to be the dominant impression" and you're complaining about it. So maybe you should take your own advice to others: "You don't like it: go home!"

Now I'm off to the UK for a week - I'll probably complain about the chaos at Heathrow, the traffic, the weather, the cost of living...

Suhail said...

Seabee said...
Bruno, your comment: "I can't help but wonder if you are French?...you seem to be doing a lot of whining and complaining about this country" is an inexcusable insult to French people.
So it’s ok to insult Emiratis and their culture? Don’t ask for examples, because there are many in your blog. Your previous posts generated many degrading comments from Doug, Keefieboy and the likes, to Emirati people and you didn’t even show disapproval!

Bruno said...

Dear Seaflea:

"You don't like it: go home!": "Infantile stupidity". Per your own words.

Or as John Frederick Boyes said:

"Violence in the voice is often only the death rattle of reason in the throat."

Stained said...

@bruno...You have no idea what you're talking about so I'm not even going to bother....

Bruno said...

Stained:

But you did! How smart is that?!

Anonymous said...

Bruno, are you the same Bruno that's been posting comments at these sites? I'm not surprised that in one of the comments, you say you're Muslim.

http://www.theatlanticright.com/2009/01/07/war-in-gaza-causes-outbursts-of-anti-semitism-in-europe/

http://cominganarchy.com/2010/03/21/ahh-saudi/

http://muslimmatters.org/2010/02/18/thomas-friedman-prisoner-in-a-glass-house/

Bruno said...

Anonymous:

Yes it is me indeed. I'm glad you're not surprise by my religious affiliation.

What surprises me on the other hand is your anonymity. What are you hiding?

Are you embarrassed or ashamed of your own religious affiliation? Or is it maybe your political views on the horrendous treatment of Palestinians by Israelis that forces you to hide behind the screen of anonymity? Or is it the racist arrogant ideas you share with the Israeli hasbara and its American arm namely AIPAC and the likes of Thomas Friedman?

I know you're dying to take this discussion to the realm of religious discourse. It is a well established trick used by the fiercest pro-Israel advocates: "it's always the ugly savage Muslim the culprit!"

But as far as my comments on this post are concerned, I was merely talking about decency and proper hospitality etiquette when you are a guest in a foreign country. Had the Israelis observed that etiquette, Palestinians might not be suffering today in their own land.

Bruno DeGourville

Anonymous said...

Bruno, I touched a raw nerve, didn't I? Oh, the joys of the internet and what it holds in its cocoon. I'll betcha, you're one of those born-agains hiding behind a Christian name.

I enjoy my anonymity, as much as you like to masquerade as a Muslim with a Christian name. How funky is that?

Don't worry, I'm not going to discuss religion. It's for sissies.

Besides, I just wanted everyone here to meet the new self appointed e-savior of Dubai.

Seabee said...

Back from the week away, a quick look at the comments on here and the decision's made - in future Bruno goes straight to the Troll folder.

Bruno said...

Hey seedy seabee!

They let you back in ?! Damn those Emiratis! They are stupid indeed!

(Your humongous ego and arrogance will probably prevent you from publishing this last comment. You are after all the owner and "moderator" of this critical and major blog)

As for troll, I just wonder at your age what your face must look like?! A Tasmanian devil or tiger?

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Anonymous said...

Seabee:

Even after a vacation you can't let go of your ego nor of that little squabble between you two!

That sounds pretty darn bitchy to me! Don't you have a life besides that blog?

PS: if I look at comments of your previous posts for this year, this one has garnered 29 comments so far. A record to your blog standard. No wonder you are willing to post Bruno's last diatribe. But it speaks volume on your editorial decisions as well as on the quality of your blog.

Seabee said...

That's your final bow on this stage Bruno. You've exposed yourself as an internet troll and there are very few sites that welcome trolls.