Last week was a first for me traveling by public transport to Dubai from Abu Dhabi. Alone.
As far as I can remember, I have never traveled in a foreign country by myself. I’d always be in a group, with a friend or family. Being the obsessive planner I am, I had to look up all the information I thought I would need for this trip.
Kudos to the Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s transport authority, everything I needed to know I found in their website — schedule, fare, location, etc. I was also looking forward to riding Dubai’s fully automated Metro.
From our place in Khalifa City, I had to take the 162 or 163 bus going to Abu Dhabi City (4 AED) get down at the bus terminal near Al Wahda Mall and from there take the bus going to Dubai (25 AED). It takes approximately an hour from Khalifa City to Abu Dhabi and a good 2 hours from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. There are two buses going to Dubai. The one I took was the E100 bus going to Al Ghubaiba Station. The other one is the E101 bus going to Ibn Battuta.
Since I was heading for Al Muraqabat in the Deira area, my gameplan was to ride the bus til Al Ghubaiba bus terminal and from there walk to the Al Ghubaiba Metro station. The only problem was that I did not know how far away the Metro is from the bus terminal and I didn’t want to die walking in 48 degree heat. So when the bus stopped at one of the metro station, I got off not knowing where I was exactly. I later found out it was the Al Jifiliya Station and from that station I only had to go through 2 station to get to my destination compared to the 4 stations from Al Ghubaiba. Yey impulsive decision!
The Nol Card. This is a smart card that you have to buy to use to pay for your Metro ride. There are 4 types of card, Red, Silver, Blue and Gold. Each one has its own features. All except the Red one can be topped up and be used in the Metro, Bus Tram, Water Buses and even to pay for parking. For more information, check the website.
I bought the Silver Nol Card which costs 25 AED and has 19 AED credit in it. The card is valid for 5 years. Awesome! The Dubai Metro is divided into 7 zones and the distance you travel will determine the fare of your trip.
As I reached my destination, I could not help but be appreciative of how convenient, comfortable, efficient and hassle free my trip was. The bus and train were spacious and clean. There were no long lines, no pushing or shoving. It was at that moment that this meme came to mind.If public transportation is any indication of how a government value its people, then ours back home have a lot of making up to do. I believe it is the public’s right and the government’s responsibility to provide safe, convenient and comfortable transport for its people. If one should dread going to work or school, it shouldn’t be because of the thought of having to line up in a ridiculously long queue for hours to be crushed inside a tube, while you battle to save your face from being smooshed against various body parts and then in the end having to walk along the train lines because unlike you, the train decided it had enough.