Dubai has a fleet of new, clean and impressive public buses. But since we have a pick and drop service provided by work (an enormous blessing, alhumdulillah), I never use these buses on a regular basis. It had been a different story for Masood though. Seven years ago when he first landed in Dubai in search for a job, he had used these buses frequently.
When we got married, one of my first requests from Masood was to take me around the city in a public bus. He reluctantly agreed because he thought the buses here wasted so much time. And he was right. Aside from the fact that one gets stuck in traffic most of the time, a bus stop would appear every 15 minutes or so.
If one has the luxury of time, Dubai’s public buses are a cheaper and comfortable option to travel within the city.
Women get the first few seats, while men get the rest. A passenger is not allowed in the bus if drunk. Passengers who have fresh seafood with them aren’t allowed either. During one of those rare occasions when I was traveling by bus, the driver refused a passenger because she was carrying a bag of fish.
Playing loud music isn’t allowed either. Some of our desi brothers like to play music on their cellphones. It shouldn’t be an issue, really, except that they like playing it loud enough for everyone to hear. When that happens, the driver asks that passenger to turn the music off, and if the passenger still continues with the loud music, the driver parks the bus and asks that passenger to alight.
E-cards have recently been introduced, which means one can’t pay cash to use the bus or metro. The one we bought cost AED 20 (and can be used in both bus and metro). I think the minimum bus fare is AED 4.50.
Oh, and another thing that I haven’t seen in buses here are people begging, making announcements or distributing leaflets, etc. This happens a lot in Philippines buses and it is very annoying. Random people jump into the bus and shove empty envelopes onto your lap asking for donation. If you pretend to sleep, they’ll wake you up.
Anyway, coming back to Dubai, I noticed this interesting bus stop …