Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 1 April 2020

Coronavirus: Face masks must be worn on Dubai public transport

New measures include less passengers on each bus and metro trip and only two allowed in a taxi

An eerily empty scene onboard a Dubai Metro journey on Wednesday morning. Patrick Ryan / The National 
An eerily empty scene onboard a Dubai Metro journey on Wednesday morning. Patrick Ryan / The National 

Commuters using public transport in Dubai must wear a protective mask, according to the city’s Roads and Transport Authority.

On Wednesday, the the authority said no more than two passengers would be allowed in a taxi and they must sit in the back of the vehicle, behind the driver.

All bus shelters in Dubai have also been closed to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Passengers on Dubai Metro and buses must leave a distance of at least one empty seat between each other and are only allowed to stand on sections marked with stickers.

I have to take the metro to get work as I can’t afford taxis

Supermarket worker

The measures were introduced as the latest step in attempts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The number of people being allowed to use a metro or bus journey will also be restricted.

Bus doors will be controlled by the driver and only those at the front and side of the vehicle will be opened, to regulate capacity, and the rear door will remain shut.

The RTA said it has increased the number of Dubai Metro services to accommodate the restrictions on travel.

“The objective of these measures is to ensure healthy and safe transit services at the highest global standards and enforce social distancing among passengers,” the authority said.

The new rules announced by Dubai RTA. Courtesy: Dubai Media Office
The new rules announced by Dubai RTA. Courtesy: Dubai Media Office

“RTA calls on public transport riders not to use public transport unless necessary; plan their journeys in advance to avoid peak hours, as delays are expected due to the new measures taken; and cooperate with the supervisors deployed at bus and metro stations or on board these modes.”

The statement also urged people to use personal protective equipment while moving around in public areas.

There were 85 new cases of Covid-19 announced in the UAE on Wednesday, bringing the country's total tally to 33.

The global death toll has now passed 18,000, with more than 420,000 confirmed cases and more than 107,000 recoveries.

When The National made a trip on Dubai Metro on Wednesday morning, the train was practically deserted.

“We’re asking people to socially distance from each other and leave at least a space of up to two metres between each other,” said one Dubai Metro employee.

“Some stations are taking temperatures of passengers but not all of them.”

At Union station, Dubai Police were checking temperatures at one entrance.

The metro itself was much quieter than usual with only a handful of passengers using the service.

The majority of those on board were already wearing face masks to try and protect themselves.

“I have to take the metro to get work as I can’t afford taxis,” said a supermarket worker, 32, from India.

“I know there is a risk but what can I do? I have to go to work to make money for my family but I am trying to be as safe as possible.”

Another passenger also wearing a face mask said they were only using the metro because they had to go to the pharmacy, even though it was their day off.

Updated: March 25, 2020 07:58 PM

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