Dubai Metro train etiquette: Battle for territory creates entry/exit deadlock

Metro users struggle to get on and off trains due to crowding at the doors (Majorie Van Leijen)

Did you think the quarrel over who is to get in and out of a Dubai Metro train first and fastest ended at the door? Wrong! Once inside, the territory battle continues.

With different approaches based on different backgrounds in Dubai, the way to go when commuting by Metro is far from unified. And as frustration rises, Metro etiquette has recently become a major topic of discussion.  

To ensure order, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is currently undertaking a signage project, aiming to streamline the around 350,000 passengers taking the Metro every day.

This month it is covering the area in front of the Metro door, with instructions as to where to enter, where to exit and emphasising that exiting should occur first.

Emirates 24|7 readers and Metro users responded to the news with their suggestions as well.

"We see lots of people blocking the exit by standing there. There should be a marking "Do not stand here, exit only," writes Karan.

"RTA needs to fine people standing near the doorway. The other day I was travelling from Bur Juman to Jebel Ali, and three or four women standing at the door did not let me in because they were standing right in front of the door.  I missed the train, " wrote another Metro user who preferred not to be named.

The entry/exit area of the Metro seems to be the most popular ‘hang-out’ on the train.

While seats are occupied within seconds, few people like to stand in the middle of the carriage, afraid of missing the chance to get out when they reach their station.

"I always stand near the exit. It happened that I missed my station because it took me too long to reach the exit. Especially when it is crowded, this can be quite a task, and the time given for exiting may not be enough," says Annabeth Taylor, a British expat commuting by Metro daily.

The entry/exit is the next step for the RTA, says Ramadan Abdullah, Director of the Rail Operation Department of RTA. "When we finish the instructions near the Metro door, we will move to streamline passengers inside the Metro.

"We see a lot of people standing in front of the door. By sending out messages on the Metro screens, and with the instructions of the Metro staff we are hoping to urge people to fill the rest of the space. This will be by the end of March," Ramadan said.

One train can carry 643 people, which means four people per sqm.

Ramadan explained earlier that the average occupancy level is 70-80 per cent of maximum capacity.

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