Dubai Metro etiquette: to roll or to stroll?

Commuters believe the horizontal escalator helps saves time . (Majorie van Leijen)

Although it is nothing more than part of modern transport for some, for others Dubai Metro is a true phenomenon. And if a driverless train, self-opening doors and world-largest train track was not enough, the modern-day facility of Dubai even helps its commuters walk.

The horizontal escalator, or travelator as it has been dubbed, has become common ground for Metro users but is far from usual for metro network. Only the largest and busiest metropolises in the world apply similar systems, usually extending over long distances, such as in the underground network of Hong Kong or at London Heathrow Airport.

When the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) visualized the metro system for the emirate, it was determined to provide with a first-class system outstanding in user friendliness and efficiency.

At the Metro stations with the longest walking distances, the travelator assists the commuter in making his way into or out of the station. In some cases, two multiple travelators have been installed to provide ultimate comfort from beginning to end.

But how important do commuters find this luxury? Emirates24|7 hopped on board of the metro and asked its passengers about their opinion.

As we depart from Business Bay metro station, we meet the 54-year-old Farzana Abbdeen. She is crossing Sheikh Zayed Road using the footbridge, however, due to maintenance work the travelator is temporarily out of service.

On foot, the journey seems a lot less hassle-free for the Sri Lankan lady. "For older people the travelator is a very good thing. Now I have to walk I am very slow and it takes me very long to reach the other side," she said. "Whenever I can, I take the escalator."

Wilfres Oforka is crossing the same distance but at a much higher pace. The Nigerian, who is in his thirties, agrees that the travelator is more useful for the elderly.

"As young people we can use our legs. It is a good thing to walk, we should not get lazy," he says. However, the travelator can be a time safer too, he believes. "When you have an appointment, or you are in a hurry, it is very useful because it makes you pass the distance much faster. Therefore, it is especially handy at Metro stations and airports."

"People traveling by metro or through the airport might be carrying things; for these people the travelator is handy," comments Vivianne Brown, a 40-year-old visitor from the UK, who frequently travelers to Dubai.

"In London we also have travelators in the underground. But there it is really needed, as the distances are quite long and the metro network extensive. Here everything is rather efficient," she notices.

When the travelator is not there to support her journey on foot, as is the case at her destination station, little does she miss it. "But I do not mind either. I can always choose to walk on the travelator itself," she said.

We ask another visitor to the emirate, this time from the KSA about the escalator. Anood (24) starts laughing: "In Riyadh it is hardly imaginable to have a travelator. We do not even have a metro," she says.

"I do use it, but I do not really care for it," she says. In my opinion it does not really make a big difference."

On the contrary, Seema Arora (48) from India lauds the system. "It is a very good system, and I always choose to use it when it is there. If the facility is there, why not use it? This is progress!"
According to her, the system could be applied in all metro stations, however, the travelator of Dubai is a little slow. "It could be a little faster. When you stand on it, it is as good as walking," she said.

It could not have convinced Eldovor Andrey Rozalina (27) from Russia, who is perpetually found walking in between the two travelators that are provided at Internet City metro station.
"I have two reasons not to take the travelator. It is very crowded, and it is going too fast. When reaching the end you could easily trip. Besides, I have my two legs, why not walk?"