x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Fish on the Dubai Metro: they're unwanted, dead or alive

Inspectors with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have introduced the ban on fish being carried on the Dubai Metro and have left commuters in no doubt that they are serious.

Shoppers at the market will have to find another way to get their fish home.
Shoppers at the market will have to find another way to get their fish home.

DUBAI // Metro inspectors want to catch fish - dead or alive - travelling on the train system.

Inspectors with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have introduced the ban on fish being carried on the Dubai Metro and have left commuters in no doubt that they are serious.

A sign at the escalator down to the Palm Deira station, which is next door to the Dubai fish market, has a graphic design of a fish silhouette surrounded by a red slashed circle, and tells passengers "carrying fish is not allowed on the Metro".

Those found breaking the by-law face a fine of Dh100. Shoppers at the market will have to find another way to get their fish home.

Ramadan Mohammed, the RTA director of rail operations, said: "It mainly concerns and is relevant to the carrying of dead fish from any destination or the fish market."

But Mr Mohammed said live fish fell under the Metro's by-laws that prohibited pets from the system. Guide dogs were the only animals allowed to ride the rails.

The RTA said a system of signs for all other rules and directions is to be tried out at one Metro station before being installed across all 46 stops by the end of the year.

After several studies and surveys, the authority will select a station and have the signs installed there within a month.

Each month the RTA asks commuters their opinions on the service and the topic of signs has always come up.

"We take the customer satisfaction into consideration and it improves from time to time," said Ahmad Al Hammadi, the chief executive of the RTA's rail agency.

The authority's customer service department call centre also receives feedback, and a local government group, part of the Dubai Government Excellence Awards, conducts its own surveys of commuters and passes the findings to the RTA.

"This is part of the learning curve," Mr Al Hammadi said. "When you plan something on paper it is one way, but when you practise it you see the changes that are needed."

Passengers will be asked to comment on changes to direction signs and information points.

"If we think we have covered all their concerns and everything is giving added value, we will implement it to all the metro stations by the end of 2012," Mr Al Hammadi said.

The final signs have yet to be approved.

Raul Gomez, an Argentinian engineer who commutes, said he thought the sign system was weak in certain parts of the 74.6 kilometres of Metro line.

"When it first opened there were signs for stops that weren't open but once I got to know the line and the stops, signs became irrelevant," said Mr Gomez, 28.

He said he also found inconsistency with announcements.

"The staff always know what's going on," Mr Gomez said. "The trains and the stations are always clean and well-lit but the signage can be a little confusing in the bigger stations when you change over from the Red Line to the Green Line.

"But it works on a logic like other cities around the world, so it can't be too confusing to tourists."

eharnan@thenational.ae