Culture clash a source of worry
When the RTA announced their latest Metro Express service, many commuters began to worry about the rush hour states
August 2, 2012 3:58 by M. Aldalou
“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.” – Mahatma Ghandi.
After over two years of operation, the Dubai Metro has answered the calls of many and decided to launch (on a trial run, naturally) an express service where a few carts would begin at the crack of dawn to provide a slightly faster service for commuters, those who are willing to wake up early enough to use it anyway.
The express trains will be in operation from 5:30 to 5:40 and depart from one end of Dubai to the other. A total of 10 minutes will be saved from the journey although now many commuters may be slapped with the ‘be careful what you wish for’ curse, because considering the factors of this trial run; the express service could prove to be disastrous when all the ingredients are brewed in the same cauldron.
Many commuters grow nervous of their chances of actually being able to catch the trains considering the amount of rush. In the event that this trial continues, every scheduled train may have a long queue behind it. And if you have ever attempted to catch the metro during rush hour, you will understand the origin behind their unease.
Because of Dubai’s immense cultural diversity, it is almost impossible to make use of any service, visit any landmark or perform any activity without having different shades of cultures that remain tied to their own ethics, customs and natural instinct.
Each culture carries its own code of upbringing and natural ‘surviving’ instinct but the clash of perspectives may leave the RTA in a state of confusion. That’s not to say that they haven’t played any part in improvement – The Khalid Bin Al Waleed station has created a barrier – forcing commuters to queue behind it but a few steps may yet be necessary.
Are the metro station stampedes attributed to cultural differences, the mentality of Dubai residents (keeping them in a rush) or the below than average duration that the train doors actually remain open? Until the source of the possible danger is investigated, the ground will continue to shake.
Although many have urged the RTA to play audio announcements (possibly in more than language) requesting commuters to allow people to exit the train before they enter, there has been no official confirmation of that procedure taking off anytime soon.
The bottom line is that this city is what it is because of its cultural diversity so a frequent announcement may be one of the only steps to take. The British culture, for example, among several other European cultures are famous for their queuing instinct, while with other cultures it’s eat or be eaten.
“If anyone has ever lived in Mumbai, where train travel is a matter of survival, the instinct is to rush,” says Nigel Vaz, an Indian expat from Mumbai told Emirates247. “But if the RTA makes it a rule, even the Mumbai local-train diehards will curb their survival instinct,” he added.
Many rush for their fear of self-preservation, others for their genuine struggle against time and some out of pure cultural instinct. The RTA will need to step up to address these issues before an unfortunate accident occurs.