The Dubai Metro!

It is what every modern metropolis craves for – effective means of rapid mass transit. It cuts down the traffic, reduces pollution and saves precious amounts of time. Using public transport is not a popular option yet in India – everyone who can barely afford it is on the car bandwagon. It has a lot to do with the quality of public transport available presently to most of us – modern options like the Metro are shaking it all up.

But the Dubai Metro experience is truly world-class – I learnt that the Metro is unmanned. The controls are operated from a Tech hub. And it is a smooth operation – the trains go whizzing by every few minutes.

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From my friend’s place I have a feeder bus to the nearest Metro station – ‘The Mall of Emirates’. The Nol card is a convenient option to make the payment for the bus as well as the Metro. In fact if one immediately commences the Metro journey then the second leg of the trip is not even charged. And it is subsidized to make it very cost-effective.

The Metro stations are truly world-class – full air-conditioned and maintained spick-and-span. Often they are also linked to popular malls and shopping areas in a seamless manner. The commuter traffic is not that much and one doesn’t get swamped. The traffic movement is convenient as well – you just use the Nol card to clear the gates and register your trip.

The waiting time is very minimal – the Metro cars keep coming up with a precision like frequency. The interiors are pleasing to the eye and convenient. In line with modern principles, the seating arrangement is minimalistic providing space for more standing commuters. The electronic displays work well – regular announcements let you know about the next station on your route. The trains travel at good speed but the ride is smooth and often you don’t realize that you are travelling rapidly.

The elevated portions of the Metro route give us nice view of the city and its landmarks. The trips are not that long – you have a station stop coming up every 3-4 minutes.The average journey will take you less than 30 minutes. And the feeder bus routes take your journey forward to enable you to reach your destination. Even a lot of car owners drop off their vehicles near a Metro station to use the service. The service standards are exceptional – there have been rare instances of traffic snarls since the service started in 2009. It is exactly what is expected in terms of mass rapid transport.

The Dubai Metro is a success story and it is still evolving.Presently the service runs on two-line ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ with interchange options at few Metro stations. Further extensions are planned and truly the Metro contributes to the glitzy image of Dubai. It offers a convenient option for regular commuters and draws in the tourist crowd as well as they navigate the city. It is conveniently linked to the City’s International Airport as well.

Well other cities too can learn from this experience. If we were able to provide the convenience and comfort of the Dubai Metro, more and more people will no longer snub public transport. A service that provides customer delight, more ‘Magics’ than ‘Tragics’ is sure to be a big hit.

Credit:Bloomberg Courtesy: Getty Images
Courtesy: Getty Images

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