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Dubai Metro: Connecting People?
With the announcement of a planned glass tunnel connection Dubai Mall to the metro station, Kipp can’t help but think of other stations on the line that stand to benefit from an upgrade.
January 3, 2012 2:30 by Eva Fernandes
Emaar announced plans of constructing a 820 metre long glass tunnel that will connect the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall metro station to the Dubai Mall. The glass tunnel (presumably air-conditioned) will include 10 moving ‘travellators’
Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties, told The National: “The Dubai Mall is one of the most visited tourist, retail, and leisure destinations in the world. While the mall offers covered parking for over 14,000 vehicles, we have been evaluating various alternatives to further streamline visitor traffic and add to their convenience. The Dubai Mall Metro link will also serve visitors to Burj Khalifa and the various attractions in Downtown Dubai.”
According Alabbar, the new tunnel will have the capacity to carry 13,500 people per hour. That’s a wee bit short of the 1 million Gulf News reports were around Dubai Mall on New Year’s Eve for the firework display-but hey it should help with managing frenzied crowds next NYE.
The decision to build a tunnel between one of Dubai’s major tourist hubs strikes Kipp as a rather smart choice given the fat lazy lumps (Kipp included!) known to inhabit the city. And let’s face it; tourists don’t really come to the UAE to get fit, either.
And yet when we think of alterations being made to the metro, the first thing that pops into our mind is the Dubai Internet City Metro station. This station is probably the only station on the line that doesn’t have an elevator/escalator/ramp to exit/enter the station from Internet City. And though the fact that yours truly has to huff and puff red-faced up the six flights of stairs every morning, is probably a great thing, it isn’t for those unable to climb as many stairs. Just this morning, Kipp was rather dismayed to see a young man on crutches stuck in the middle of the stairs as a hoard of morning rush hour commuters ran past him. It isn’t too rare either to see mothers struggling to get down the station with both a baby and a bulky pram in hand.
We won’t be so naive to pretend that Emaar’s motives are purely altruistic, but better connecting commuters from station to their destination is something the RTA can gain from. Kipp will not be too harsh on the RTA, considering budget cuts, the 2 year delay for the Green Line to be opened and the ongoing construction of the few stations to be opened—the RTA has done well to ensure the metro is accessible to those with special needs. Yet we remember, with horror, the time when we passed a girl in a wheel chair who was stuck in a glass elevator at Nakheel Station, surrounded by technicians trying to get her out. Baby steps, we suppose.