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Sep 18, 2009

Life With A Metro

One can only imagine the thrill of having a Metro in your town. More so, when the Metro is bang outside your house.

Dubai just went through it's own share of Metro mania when virtually the entire country was looking forward to a great launch. The day, the time, 09.09.09 09:09:09.. Virtually an unforgettable day. Fireworks, the launch by the Royal Family, all the bigwigs of town in one Metro train going from one point to another. The hype, the media frenzy, the countdown, you name it, it was there.

It is not every day that you see the construction of a Metro. More so, when it is done in a little less than three years. The sheer magnitude of the construction, the entire network in the sky, the jazzy stations, the people working day and night to ensure all stations are ready and functional, the drilling, the installation of the tracks, the mess that every conceivable road was in, the hassles and the pain of driving all around your locality just to get around to the other side of the road.. It was a horrible two years.

Come the magic day, people flocked out of nowhere.. Total chaos, pandemonium and the roof fell down. The excitement was unbelievable. Every where that you go, it is only the Metro that was under discussion. It was as if there is nothing else in Dubai... After all, it is not every day that you hear of a train line being set for nearly 50 Kilometers, and running without any drivers.

The ride was worth it.. We spent a Saturday going from Point A to Point B. Excellent infrastructure, lovely trains, an absolute gorgeous view of bulidings that you never see from close or you are above them. The smoothness of the ride, the comfortable rides all across the city, something that one always dreams of.

However behind this one could also see the failures of the system. The overconfidence that came crashing down as people management took a beating, the lack of basic processes, the lack of adequate infrastructure to manage the crowds, the manner in which people were taken for granted, the total ignorance displayed by people when arriving at the station, despite many of them having travelled in Metro's world wide..

A matter of both pros and cons.. The Metro was some thing that the city simply needed, however the total lack of planning and the manner in which Dubai showcases its assets, despite their worth not being what it truly is, boasts of an overconfident mind set, which time and time again comes crashing down. Nothing to take away from a great achivement in such a short span of time, however one could always sense, the hype is simply short lived.

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