Dubai Consumer Mirror

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Busting Bus Myths

One of my favorite lunch destinations is a place called Al Tawasol. It is a Majlis-style restaurant that serves a Saudi/Yemeni menu with dishes like Mandi, Mathbi and Madghot. The only problem (for me) is that the place is located next to Clock roundabout in Deira - which is a mid-day nightmare to drive through during lunch hour.

Anyways, my lunch buddy and I decided to leave the office early around 12:30 to catch a cab. Our Office is located on the busy Zabeel Road, next to Karama Post Office. 1 hr later and we are still in the street waiting for a taxi.

By then, It was not about lunch anymore, we are 5 minutes away from BurJuman Center. It was about making a point: "We WILL catch a cab and We WILL eat Mandi today!" (in a hard-headed Levant-style attitude ;-) )

We finally grabbed a taxi (literally standing in its way to stop it). We started interrogating the driver on the whereabouts of his colleagues. He told us about a huge protest Dubai Transport drivers are staging...etc

We made it to the Mandi Joint and stuffed our faces in a rush. It was 2:15 already and we were wondering if we can make it back to the office in time to see if we still have our jobs or not.

It was 3:00 and not a single cab in sight. We were like, "That’s it, we are going on foot".

We scurried toward the Clock Roundabout heading to Al Maktoum bridge when we passed by a bus station. Incidentally, a bus with the sign (KARAMA) on its destination board was about to leave the station. It took both of us a split second of exchanging 'you-wanna-do-this' glances and we were banging on the bus doors begging the driver to let us in.

We got in and asked the driver if Karama Post is on his route. He agitatedly nodded with a yes sign and stretched his arm demanding payment.

I heard so much about how bad, slow, smelly and overcrowded public bus transportation in Dubai is. That’s why I never took the bus here before, though back in my Kuwait days, public transportation was an integral component of my pre-car-owning commuting solution.

"Hope this goes well," I was telling myself.

The ride was a bit long, but curiously fast. We were worried a bit when the bus took a hard left (in opposite direction to where we’re heading) toward City Centre. But relieved after it headed back to Maktoum Bridge again through Bani Yass road after covering most of the inside roads along the way.

The bus then took the Sh. Rashid Hospital exit off Al Maktoum bridge and went all the way around DTV studios area. It was another 10 minutes of zigzagging Karama's internal roads before we stepped off at a bus stop which was a one minute walk from the office.

"we made it!"

Realistically speaking, if i was in a hurry, I would not take the bus. It could be slow because of Dubai traffic and the long routes buses here cover. But in any other situation, I don't see a reason for not taking the bus instead of a taxi.

We were seated comfortably and the bus was air conditioned and remarkably clean. No spit, gum or paper slips on the floor. There was no graffiti on the chairs or walls and people were sitting quietly minding their own business. Oh and get this, the air had occasional whisks of 'ocean breeze' from a timed air freshener thingi that you typically see in hotel bathrooms.

All this for Dhs 1.5 only.

The air freshener thingi

My first bus ticket in Dubai

Seriously, I do encourage everyone to take DM's Public Transport buses from time to time. Help reduce car condensation on Dubai streets, give your nervous system a break from the Sunny's and the Cruisers, help make the air less polluted AND save lotsa $$$..


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger BuJ, at January 3, 2006 at 11:57 AM  

  • WOW.. you took a bus? In my many decades in Dubai I've never taken a bus, I think I will try it!

    Interesting about the cabbies, wallah haram these guys are screwed big time by the "system". I read the article in today's Gulf News (3 Jan 06) about the taxi strike, it shows how tough life really is for them.

    A strike 5 years ago in Dubai would be a myth, now it's a reality. DD. Dynamic Dubai.

    By Blogger BuJ, at January 3, 2006 at 11:57 AM  

  • I liked it, It showed me parts of Dubai that I never thought had potentially existed, moreover we felt like we were actually part of the society....its good to take a break from royalty once in a while.

    One thing I did realize, and thats in comparison to buses in canada...These busses are not equipped to serve the handicapped. ie. weel chair bound individuals.

    In canada, the buses have built in ramps that open onto the side walk, that is after the bus had actually used its advanced hydraulic system to sink down to the level of the pavement!!, and then once all that is said and done, in strolls the wheel chair. Once inside the bus, the chairs pull up smartly to the sides, and kaboom, you can fit about 3 wheel chairs in there and for mothers with children in strollers this is also a dream come true.

    Moryarti, it was a pleasure taking the bus with you on this unforgettably stink / heat / spit / gum / fghelm / and accident free journey.

    For those out there who have never tried the bus / mandi combo...your missing out, we have tours going out everyday of the week from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, bus fare and post mandi indulgence medical expenses not included.

    The Subliminal Superwisor

    By Blogger Makdizzle, at January 3, 2006 at 12:15 PM  

  • woweeee...that looks great. The last time I took a bus in Dubai it was to bunk off school, and we paid 25 fils each and went from the Chicago Beach Hotel all the way to Clock Tower r/a....and that was a looooooooooooong time ago. There were no a/c's and lots of holes in the bus floor. It was all good fun of course since we were playing truant and needed something exciting.
    Perhaps someone can arrange a time and a route and all bloggers come and join the fun, anonymously of course....hehe

    By Blogger CG, at January 3, 2006 at 2:58 PM  

  • CG - great idea!

    Then we can identify each other with the secret blogger hand signal! :-)


    By Blogger nzm, at January 3, 2006 at 3:04 PM  

  • which is what???

    By Blogger CG, at January 3, 2006 at 10:02 PM  



    wish ya all the happiness and success in this year ... happy 2006

    By Blogger Brava Valentia, at January 4, 2006 at 11:38 PM  

  • @CG & nzm... a secret dubai blogger handshake.. mmmmm

    By Blogger moryarti, at January 5, 2006 at 1:08 AM  

  • @mother courage - thank you for your kind note dear... Wishing you all the best

    By Blogger moryarti, at January 5, 2006 at 1:09 AM  

  • so Moryarti. Have you decided on the secret bloggers signal?
    perhaps something simple like carrying a particular brand of drink in your comes Mory with a red bull....haha

    By Blogger CG, at January 6, 2006 at 1:24 PM  

  • lol .. yeah sure .. remind me before our next meeting :P

    By Blogger moryarti, at January 6, 2006 at 9:12 PM  

  • DM buses are fine. They are just not consistently reliable (across all routes). So, if you were to take the bus and depend on it entirely, it could prove to be problematic.

    Buses going from one emirate to another are a complete and utter disaster. I've tried both. I would challenge you to take a bus from Dubai to Sharjah and not take a 2 hour shower after it ;)

    I like the new blogs popping up these days, like this one.

    By Anonymous Mohamed Elzubeir, at January 11, 2006 at 5:10 PM  

  • I took the inter-emirate buss once before about 6 year ago.. it was my first and last, not because it was bad or anything.. it only took the bus about 3hrs for a DXB-AUH trip. Add a couple more in waiting for the buss to fillup and a shower ... it would sum up to a 4.5 hrs journey. :)

    And thank you for thoughtful comment as well.. very kind of you. Would love to see you more frequently here .. cheers

    By Blogger moryarti, at January 11, 2006 at 7:53 PM  

  • ive taken the bus once, from sheikh zayed 3rd interchange to the deira bus station and from there to shj... wonderful service. went from 3rd interchage to king faisal in just 7 dhs! that's AWESOME! :) i whs dubai and shj would sort their issues out and we would have more buses shj to dubai.

    the dubai to shj service was excellent. we had a person guinding peopel into the bus and makign sure that everyone was seated properly. no pushing or pulling while getting into the bus. even tho there was a huge crowd waiting to sit in the 'to shj' buses. just wonderful and very well organized.

    By Blogger BaptizedLucifer, at January 20, 2006 at 1:51 PM  

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