Dubai Metro etiquette: Culture clash settled with new RTA queue rules


It has long been a major bone of contention for regular users of Dubai Metro - what is the protocol for getting on and off the trains.

With people of different cultures and nationalities all travelling at peak hour - which is increasingly getting jam-packed - the different 'queue philosophies' have often led to some nasty arguments.

Simply put, the rush to get on before people have got off, is the heart of the matter.

Now, the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) has moved to clarify exactly what the etiquette to be followed is.

The RTA will have notices on all 14 glass doors on all 28 Metro stations. These are already up at Burjuman, Union and Al Rigga.

The notices clearly illustrate that people getting off have to leave from the centre of the door, while commuters getting on need to queue on either side of the door and after those getting off are done, can get on.

“There was some confusion and conflict before,” says Ramadan Abdullah, Director, Rail Operations, RTA.

 Earlier this website reported of a train etiquette culture clash; as different nationals exhibit different train etiquettes on their daily commute.

While some would say it is not more than normal to let people disembark before boarding the train, there are others who have learnt how to fight for their space on the public transport; an art which they are willing to showcase in Dubai Metro.

But this is to come to an end, thinks Ramadan.

“We received a lot of complaints from customers about this behaviour and we carried out a small study. In many parts of the world it is common practice to disembark first, and many of our customers suggested the same.

“By putting up these signs we want to organise people. People will follow each other in this behaviour. When they see a person waiting for others to disembark, they will start doing the same.”

But Metro commuters are not very optimistic about their fellow Metro users. “I have seen nothing changed. People are hysterical when they want to enter the Metro and they do not respect space at all. I personally think this will not change,” says BC, a South African resident in Dubai.

“Another Metro user, Maria from Germany, pointed out that if people are not willing to pay attention to other commuters they would probably not pay attention to signage either. “When the Metro doors open all they care about is getting in and finding the best spot before others take it,” she comments.

“I have not seen the notice at my station, but in certain stations I have seen people waiting for the passengers to disembark before they board the Metro,” says Sangheeta, who gets off at World Trade Center.

“It is too early to see if it has any result,” says Ramadan. “But by the time we have covered all stations I think people will start learning.”

Emirates 24|7 spoke to some regular Metro users to see if the new notices had any effect:

Rajesh Kumar, Indian: To a certain extent. People are at least standing in the right spots to get on and off. But evening rush hour at major hubs like Union is still madness. In fact I am from Mumbai so I come from a train culture where it is a matter of life and death - quite literally. However, by Dubai standards, getting on or off between 7pm and 8pm at a major junction is still a mad push.

Chloe Barnes, South Africa: At least now we can tap an errant commuter on the shoulder and point to the notice. Users are more worried about the doors closing before they get a chance to get on. So it would help if those getting off got a move on.

Nikolai V, Russia: No use at all. In evening, people are just pushing and rushing in and out. It is very rough.

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