Residents in the UAE expressed mixed reactions over the launch of Etihad Rail and if they will use the service to commute between emirates.
Emirates 24|7 spoke to a cross-section of residents from different emirates. Those from the Northern Emirates who work in Abu Dhabi said they can’t wait for the launch as it will save time and effort.
While those residing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi said that they are not sure if they will use the train, unless it is very convenient to them.
Mohammed, a 40-year-old Emirati from Ras Al Khaimah who works in Abu Dhabi takes internal flights every week from Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah. “I used to drive earlier, but I wasted more than five hours.
On Thursday, traffic is bad from Abu Dhabi to the Northern Emirates as large number of residents from the Northern Emirates work or study in Abu Dhabi. I was fed up and began taking internal flights from Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah every Thursday and return to Abu Dhabi the same way. When Etihad Rail is launched, I will definitely avail the service. It will be cheaper and more convenient.”
He noted that many of his friends will also use the train instead of internal flights to travel between emirates.
Khalid, an Emirati living in Umm Al Quwain and working with Abu Dhabi Police, also said that he will use the train service. “I work in Abu Dhabi, and every weekend, I drive back to my family in Umm Al Quwain. It takes me four hours every Thursday due to the heavy traffic from Dubai to Umm Al Quwain. I cannot wait for the day the train will be launched. It will save me lot of driving hours, and also it will be comfortable.”
Ahmed, a 36-year-old Emirati from Abu Dhabi, said that he will avail the service. “Once Etihad Rail is launched, I will definitely use it to commute between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and other emirates. It will save time and effort. Now, it is difficult to drive from Abu Dhabi to the other emirates, especially with heavy traffic.”
However, Al Yazeyah, a 28-year-old Emirati mother-of-three living in Abu Dhabi, who drives from Abu Dhabi to Dubai at least twice a month for work, said that she will not use the train as she is more comfortable in her own car.
“I have a driver. So it is more comfortable for me to come to Dubai in my own car. It is less hassle, plus I do my work while on the road. It is only one-hour drive.”
Christy Murray, a 39-year-old South African from Dubai and a mother-of-two, said that she will use train service. “If they launch the train to Abu Dhabi I will definitely use it because I feel it will be beneficial for me.
Because of my work, I have to travel to Abu Dhabi many times a week, thus, if I use the train, I can obviously get some work done on the train and write down the minutes of the meeting and other things while it is fresh on my mind.
Sanji, a 40-year-old Sri Lankan living in Dubai and a mother-of-one, said that she will not take the train unless it took her to her final destination. “I am not sure if I would use the train to Abu Dhabi unless it takes me to the final destination that I want to go. I have never used Dubai Metro, so I probably, wouldn’t take a train all the way to Abu Dhabi . It has to be very convenient to me without too much change from one transportation mode to another.”
Mia McLeod, a 39-year-old mother-of-two, said that she would use the train, but for leisure.
“I would use the train. As I don’t work, it will be for leisure. But I think it will make a big difference to what can be an otherwise tedious journey. It will solve traffic and parking problems to a large extent.”
Giezi Mendoza, a 35-year-old Latin American living in Dubai and a mother-of-two, said that she will use the train. “When it is launched, it will definitely solve traffic problems between emirates. It will also save time and stress.”
Maximilian, a 50-year-old British man and a father-of-one, from Dubai said that Etihad Rail is very good idea, but it should be connected to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road.
“I think it would be useful as public transportation along Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road. On Sheikh Zayed Road, we have Dubai Tram and Dubai Metro, but there is nothing on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road. Etihad Rail must be linked to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road to benefit many who live or work in this part of the emirate.”
Maryam, a 28-year-old Emirati girl from Dubai, said that she is not going to use the train. “For me, the distance between Dubai to Abu Dhabi is only one hour. I’d rather take my car instead of parking in the station and waiting for the train and then ending up using public transport or taxis in Abu Dhabi. It is too much hassle and at the end it will take approximately the same time that I would consume if I drive to Abu Dhabi.”
She added that the train is the perfect solution for those who live in the Northern Emirates such as Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain.
Etihad Rail was established in June 2009 under Federal Law No. 2, with a mandate to manage the development, construction and operation of the UAE’s national freight and passenger railway network.
The railway network will be built in phases to link the principal centres of population and industry of the UAE, as well as to form a vital part of the planned GCC railway network linking the six countries of the GCC: The Kingdom of Bahrain, The State of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Built to international standards, Etihad Rail's state-of-the-art network will act as a catalyst for economic growth and sustained social development. Once complete, the railway will redefine logistics and transport in the region, thus providing a modern, safe, efficient and sustainable network which will connect the UAE and its regions to its neighbouring GCC countries.