x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Dubai Metro passengers tell of chaos after service disruption leaves hundreds stranded

Travellers said they had to evacuate trains after a power supply failure affected several metro stations.

The Karama metro station in Dubai, where commuters spoke of confusion during power cuts on Tuesday night. Pawan Singh / The National
The Karama metro station in Dubai, where commuters spoke of confusion during power cuts on Tuesday night. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // Commuters stranded on the Dubai Metro on Tuesday night described chaotic scenes after services on 10 trains were disrupted because of a power failure.

Hundreds of passengers returning home from work were forced to leave the trains or were not allowed to board them.

They said there had been no official announcements.

Jennifer Villanueva was among them.

“I was travelling from my workplace in Al Quoz to Rigga,” said Ms Villanueva, a Filipino expatriate.

“The trains just stopped at the Karama station. Someone was announcing something on the microphone but we couldn’t hear it clearly.

“I was really unwell and just wanted to get back home. The train started 30 minutes later but again stopped at the Union station for another 15 minutes.”

Ms Villanueva said things became tense as hundreds waited at Karama, Jafiliya and Rigga stations.

“People were getting upset,” she said. “We didn’t see any staff telling us what was happening. Someone should have done something.”

Bilal Manzoor was another disgruntled traveller. The Pakistani expatriate walked from the World Trade Centre station to Karama after he found the metro station was closed to passengers.

“There were a lot of people waiting for taxis so there was no chance of getting a taxi and for 45 minutes I didn’t see any bus passing by the WTC station,” Mr Manzoor said.

He said there was none from the Roads and Transport Authority there to help.

“They didn’t know about the buses or the taxis and didn’t know when the metro would resume,” Mr Manzoor said.

But the RTA said it had acted quickly to resolve the situation.

“All affected passengers were evacuated in 20 minutes and alternative modes of transport were provided,” said Moaza Al Marri, marketing and corporate communications director at the RTA.

“The failure of power supply led to the air conditioning and electricity shutting off.

“However, the emergency lighting and communications system was functional as per the system design, including the doors.

“The technical issue was resolved in two hours.”

Passengers also complained of being stuck inside trains and stations for long periods but the RTA said the exit gates were controlling the flow of passengers to prevent “dangerous overcrowding”.

Mrs Al Marri said the RTA had deployed an extra 1,110 taxis and 39 buses to help commuters.

The authority said that corrective and preventive measures had been put in place to avoid future incidents.