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A Mumbaikar’s take on Dubai Metro

This is not a rant about the author's commuting woes in Dubai, but instead a figurative sigh of relief

By Husain Rizvi

Published: Sun 27 Feb 2022, 11:38 AM

Last updated: Sun 27 Feb 2022, 11:49 AM

Among my peers, we have often discussed our travels in Dubai Metro, especially during peak office hours when getting on the train is a task for many. Not that we are complaining, but as we blend into that daily office-going crowd, we begin desperately wishing for a vacant seat.

For me, a person for whom a one-way metro ride is around 40 minutes long, that wish is fulfilled only 25 minutes into my return journey when majority of the crowd gets off at Union station. On my way to work, it is also the station where a huge crowd boards the train.

To be clear, this is not a rant about my commuting woes, but instead a figurative sigh of relief. I come from the Indian city of Mumbai, a city that never sleeps. A city so bursting with people that even the first local train of the day, that leaves at about 4am, will have no seats to offer you. But it’s also a city wherein the local train compartments always have space for one more person; mind you it may not be very comfortable, and you enter at your own risk. The unspoken rule is that a seat for three shall always accommodate four. And if you don’t comply, you are a rude person and may incite a commotion.

Regular travellers in Mumbai local trains travel in groups. While that is to ensure an amusing ride, more realistically, it is to have a fixed spot on the train. And, if you are not part of the door gang (travellers standing at the door) you may not be able to board the train, thanks to a perfect ruse to make it look like there is not enough space. But, more often than not, travellers barge their way inside, caring little of what is before them.

Here in Dubai, it is different. Everything is in order. Everyone has patience. Even in a packed metro ride, I stand at ease, not worrying about my feet getting stomped on or my shirt getting caught on someone else’s backpack. People here even travel freely with their electric scooters which while space consuming, do not disturb the other commuters. And that is why I will never complain about my daily train rides in Dubai. Having braved the local trains of Mumbai, these journeys are comparatively a breeze.

However, local train travel in Mumbai did teach me to stand my ground as far as getting on the train is concerned. Once at a station in Dubai, the train doors opened and the person right up front nodded slightly, hinting that there was no space for me to board the metro. I said to myself, “I am from Mumbai, this is not new to me,” and made my way inside to a corner, leaned against the opposite door and enjoyed my next 25 minutes watching a show on Netflix, as I used to do in Mumbai, only much more comfortably and pleasantly. husain@khaleejtimes.com

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