Cut in Dubai Metro boarding time raises train etiquette culture clash

Metro users worried they might not be able to get on, or off, during peak hours at certain stations

News that Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA)  will reduce the time taken to get on and off the Metro at some stations has sparked a debate on whether there should be specific rules for entry and exit.

Currently the average time a train stops at a station is 30 seconds and during rush hour, often, getting on an off is short of a stampede.

Now, with time lessening, Metro users are worried that they might not be able to get on the train, or off it, during peak hours at certain stations.

Also, given Dubai’s cosmopolitan nature, there is a certain cultural element also emerging – how do expats handle train travel courtesy back home?

Currently, no convention as to entry or exit rules on trains is specified in Dubai.

When the automated doors open people from both sides make a dash for it, this often results in a clash.

“RTA needs to consider announcing: "PLEASE ALLOW PEOPLE TO DISEMBARK FROM THE METRO BEFORE BOARDING", every time a Metro stops at a station,” says Metro user Kapil on this website yesterday.

England is famous for its queue culture reaching as far as Tube travel goes. “People stand on one side of the escalator, so that people can pass if they need to.

“And instructions on the Metro doors kindly tell us to let people out before getting onto the Metro,” says Jenny Brickway, who was born and raised in London.

“If anyone has ever lived in Mumbai, where train travel is a matter of survival, the instinct is to rush,” says Nigel Vaz, an Indian expat from Mumbai. “But if the RTA makes it a rule, even the Mumbai local-train diehards will curb their survival instinct,” he adds.

In Hong Kong the urge to smoothen the flow of passengers has reached even further ends. Before entering the Metro people are urged to stand in line right of the door by an improvised rope line, while people embarking from the train are streamlined towards the other direction.

“In Bulgaria, we just walk,” says Desi Ivan, a Bulgarian resident of Dubai.

In Pakistan, Othman Shahid says, getting on and off any public transportation vehicle is like a battlefield.

“For us Filipinos it’s a balance of attack and defence,” muses K Rodriguez, another daily Metro users, adding, “However, we normally will wait for passengers to exit first.”

“You can see that people have different habits of getting in the Metro. We Indians are used to fight for our seat. Then there are others who politely wait for their turn to enter their metro. They will end up standing,” says Kumar R.

The RTA does have an improvised barricade for entry to the women and children only section of the trains on some stations.

Also, running for a train on a platform is not allowed, with security guards often posted just off the escalators to prevent oncoming rushers.


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