DUBAI // Shajahan and Sujith had never been to visit their friends in Al Quoz before yesterday when, for the first time, they took the Dubai Metro to the recently opened Noor Islamic Bank station. The bank assistants from Kerala were among dozens of employees taking advantage of the proximity of one of the three new Metro stations to travel to or from the densely populated industrial area.
"We are going to meet our friends at Grand City Mall," said Shajahan, 24, as he and Sujith waited for a Road and Transit Authority (RTA) bus outside the station to take them into the heart of Al Quoz, where thousands of the city's blue-collar workers live in staff accommodation. Noor Islamic Bank station was opened last Saturday, along with GGICO in Al Garhoud and World Trade Centre, taking the number of stations in operation to 21.
Some 97,155 passengers used the Metro that day, three per cent of whom, the RTA said, came from those three stations. Eight more stations are scheduled to open in the coming months, completing the 29-stop Red Line. Yesterday was the first time that Yousof Mohammed, 29, a restaurant worker living in Al Quoz 3, had used the Metro. "I have been to Rashidya and Mall of the Emirates," he said. "It was much easier. The bus before would take too long.
"The price is also good, the same as the bus. I will do this again next Friday." Alex Fernandes, 28, an Indian expatriate who lives in Bur Dubai but works for a shipping company in Al Quoz, said he had almost four hours more free time this week, thanks to Noor Islamic Bank station. Instead of a long bus ride from his home in Bur Dubai to the shipping company's Al Quoz base, he has been taking a short train journey from Khalid bin al Waleed Station in Bur Dubai, where he lives, to the Noor Islamic Bank stop.
"I have used it every day to work and to just get around the city," he said. "It is the best way to get here. With the traffic on the road it used to take me two-and-a-half hours." firstname.lastname@example.org