Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Riding public transports of Dubai

Many years back UAE was a place where it was impossible to go out and about without cars or taxies. But over past few years UAE and mainly Dubai has improved big on public transport system. Rather it is now such an efficient system that people can live happily and enjoy this place without having their own cars. You can use public transport system even in harsh summer months thanks to air-conditioned bus stops and bus connectivity close to almost every residential part of Dubai.

Dubai metro is like blessing to not just residents but tourist as well. Riding Dubai metro is definitely fun too. I still remember shortly after opening Dubai metro everybody in Dubai wanted to experience the ride. We too joined that crowd and grabbed a place in the last compartment, where we could see the rails! Below is the video taken in Sept 2009, enjoy! :)

Almost 6-7 months back I started my 'riding public transport project' again, this time for my son and the results are joyful exclamations and buckets of excitement! But remember while taking your kids on public transport you need to keep in mind that it is heavily used by many people for regular commuting. Better avoid rush (office) hours. Minimize your luggage and avoid taking prams or strollers, better to carry your kids on your arms. There are enough ramps everywhere and dedicated places in metro, bus and trams to keep strollers. But without them I found it easier and your kids are going to co-operate you for sure!

We took roundtrip by bus in my community. While riding big bus, my son demanded to sing "Wheels on the bus" million times, I hope we didn't irritate our co travelers. The red button you press before the stop was a big attraction too.

Riding a metro was lot more excitement, because it was first time toot-toot train ride. I opted for late morning time, when it was not crowded. Ruhaan sang few songs, looked out and enjoyed a lot, recognizing bus, cars, bikes, trees, fountain etc. He liked the announcement part too.  But biggest fun was saying bye to parallel metro going in opposite direction!

But when he could see water from metro, he almost demanded his next ride, row row boat.
Riding Water taxi

There are many water taxies used by people for regular commute between Bur and Deira Dubai. But to add some more fun in that ride for me, we opted for ferry from Marina to Palm Jumeira and back. It was a total success! It was again my son's 1st boat ride, with repetitions of 'row row row your boat' song, I had to answer many more questions. For Ex. Cars don't run in water they run on road. Only boats run in waters (I avoided talking abut amphibious vehicles to reduce confusion). Also we can't go out of boat, because we'll have to swim and our clothes will get wet. We spent a great time waving to other boats, some people even waved back from those boats. My son talked to few of the passengers and they were happy to interact with him. But highlight of this ride was bird feeding. At the start of ride, the staff brought khaboos and threw the pieces in air towards birds and birds caught these pieces in air. that was very interesting part, almost everyone came out on the deck. Ruhaan got to throw few khaboos and he got very excited when those flying seagulls caught his pieces.

Riding Al Sufou tram is still pending on our list since winter, but Ruhaan sees tram from car and calls it metro. They look similar.

Apart from last ride (marina ferry), all public transports were full of regular commuters. It shows how Dubai's public transport is popular, convenient and sustainable. If we all park our cars and use public transport whenever possible, we could save so much fuel and reduce the carbon footprint.

Few years back, I used to share car with friends/colleagues while commuting to Abu Dhabi for work. That is another solution to reduce fuel use. There are many popular sites in UAE where you can find your travel buddy on careshare.com, sharemylife.com, carshareme.com, carpool Arabia or RTA sharekni service. I have many interesting memories from car sharing days, if you are travelling with colleagues it's like team building activity. Otherwise it's great way to get to know other cultures, share knowledge and have fun. The traffic jams are never boring if you are travelling with someone.

Every year in winter Car free day is celebrated in Dubai, but the public transport over here has developed up to such standard that homes near metro stations have more demand. I know few people who sold their second car and use public transport regularly inside Dubai for work.

After Ethihad rail, commuting between emirates without car will be even more easy too. Let's hope public transport in UAE will get even better and more and more residents will use it on regular basis.


Bazeeth Ahamed said...

Well narrated.

Amruta Kshemkalyani- Tavkar said...

Thank you Bazeeth! Glad you liked the post.

Anthony Bergs said...

When I worked in Dubai for a half year, I used public transport while commuting from my apartment to the office. I can say that they have one of the cleanest and comfortable public transport there in Dubai. But I never try to walk for my work, even if it was about 20-25 minutes walk.

As an example nowadays I'm walking from home to my office at Writersperhour and back home. I prefer walking that transport, I walk about 4-5 miles each day. It helps me to stay feet and in a good mood.

But the only reason I didn't walk when worked in Dubai is the weather. It's almost impossible to walk at 12 am, especially in Summer.
So public transport is the best way to commute while you in Dubai.

Amruta Kshemkalyani- Tavkar said...

Thank you Anthony Bergs for your sharing your experience with Dubai's public transport!
Walking 20-25 min outdoors here in summer noontime is not just possible but not even advisable. So as you said, public transport is best way to commute!