x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Residents welcome Green Line

Dubai residents speculate that their lives will be easier - and cheaper - with the new Metro line.

Myles Evans, pictured at the Mall of the Emirates Metro Station, says the new line will save him Dh60 a week.
Myles Evans, pictured at the Mall of the Emirates Metro Station, says the new line will save him Dh60 a week.

DUBAI // For those who live or travel through Dubai, the Metro Green Line, which makes its grand opening today and its public debut tomorrow, will make the city a little smaller.

Myles Evans, a 16-year-old Briton who lives in Dubai Festival City, said the Green Line would save him up to Dh60 of his Dh200 weekly allowance he spends on taxis to meet his skateboarding friends at the city's malls.

Mame Bekle, 40, a housewife, said she hopes to explore Dubai's older, and more traditional parts, far from her home in Al Barsha.

Rasika Gamage and Savinda Liyanage, salesmen from India, will seek clients in areas previously too costly to visit by taxi, but now easily accessible by the Green Line.

"Perhaps I will spend the money I will be saving on some skateboarding stuff, maybe even a new board," Myles said.

"Because I live in DFC, to get to the Metro's Red Line was expensive by taxi, so I couldn't always afford it. But now I won't have to pay so much to see my friends. The Green Line will save me a lot of money."

Mrs Bekle, who is Ethiopian, has never been to Dubai's most densely populated area near the creek, where shops stand that ply traditional wares such as perfumes and incense at cheaper prices than the malls. That, she said, would change.

"To visit those places by taxi would cost me Dh75, so I don't go to those areas," Mrs Bekle said. "But now I will start. The Metro makes travelling through Dubai cheap and easy. I have always been very impressed with the service. I love it."

Mr Liyanage, 23, and Mr Gamage, 35, both banking solution officers, were at the Mall of the Emirates Metro Station yesterday.

"We don't usually go to that part of the city, because public transport options are few there," said Mr Gamage.

"It was too costly to travel there by taxi and taking the bus was too time consuming, but from Saturday we will begin seeking new credit card customers there."

Mr Liyanage agreed.

"The Green Line will open up the city more to us," he said. "It will save us time getting around. We generally avoided that part of the city, but now, no more."

Brett Greenwood, 15, a pupil from Zimbabwe, said he depended on taxis or his parents whenever he had a need to travel beyond where the Red Line ran. He and his friends Lee Venter, 15, and Adam Oliver, 16, both from South Africa, will use the Green Line to get to Mirdif City Centre.

"I was spending about Dh100 a week on taxis," Lee said. "I won't be doing that anymore."

Adam said the three of them use taxis and the Metro daily.

"Now we will use the Metro more and taxis less," he said. "I'm really looking forward to saving some money. The Metro is much cheaper."

But every rose has its thorn.

For Lyn Comendador, 24, a Filipina secretary, the Green Line has made the daily commute almost twice as expensive. She is not pleased, especially because she has no need to travel along the Green Line.

"I'm not happy," she said. "Since the zones were changed because of the new line, I went from paying Dh2.30 for one trip to Dh4.10. Before, Union and Al Jafiliya Stations were within the same zone, but now they have been split into two zones. So I am paying more for the same trip. The Green Line is of no use to me. It has hurt me, not helped me."

The Green Line will run from Etisalat Station in Al Twar district near Emirates Road via the Al Qusais, Hor Al Anz, Al Meena, Deira, Al Ras, Bur Dubai, Umm Hurair and Al Jadaf areas of Dubai to the Dubai Creek. Public service begins tomorrow at 5.50am.

ealghalib@thenational.ae