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Will metro change Dubai car culture?

Dubai metro
The metro will eventually become the world's longest driverless train system

Dubai opened the Arabian Peninsula's first urban train network on Wednesday in a bid to ease congestion.

Here residents of the United Arab Emirates discuss the impact of the project and whether people will be willing to give up their cars.

HANA AL-HIRSI, 28, PUBLICIST, ABU DHABI

Hana Al-Hirsi

I live in Abu Dhabi and go to Dubai regularly. I will definitely use the new train system.

Traffic has dropped during this recession - but Dubai will bounce back and then it will need a great public transport system.

I think it will be popular. For one thing, there are many Westerners in Dubai who are used to public transport and will be keen to try it. And as temperatures drop more people will want to get on board. Some may also see it as way to save money during this downturn.

Dubai has received a lot of bad press recently. Commentators have focused on the way the emirate has been hit by the recession and the debt it has built up.

But Dubai won't be in recession forever. It is a city that has developed very quickly and is starting to build services that will be the envy of the west. Public transport is the latest example of this.

CATHERINE GROOM, 43, LEGAL SECRETARY, DUBAI

I think it is an interesting novelty, but it won't push people out of their cars.

Petrol is cheap and people are used to being delivered door to door. People won't even go shopping if they have to walk the length of two cars.

It looks very impressive though and I will definitely use it. There are meant to be great views from the raised railway, so it could become a pull for tourists.

But I won't be giving up my car. The metro doesn't stop near where I work. And I don't feel like waiting outside in the humid heat of September.

I doubt the government will get their money back either. I feel that it's another example of Dubai spending vast amounts just to have the biggest and the best.

REBECCA DONDONILLA, 34, DOMESTIC WORKER, DUBAI

Rebecca Dondonilla

Many people here are excited about the new train - including me. I plan to use it in a month or so.

It won't encourage people to leave their cars unless the price of petrol goes up.

But I'm sure people will flock to it for the adventure and curiosity. Riding on the world's longest driverless train will be totally new experience.

And for domestic workers like me who don't have cars, it could be really useful. It will certainly be better than using buses and should be cheaper than taxis.

FAISAL DURRANI, 26, CONSULTANT, DUBAI

Faisal Durrani

I'm looking forward to using the new metro - I will probably get on it this weekend.

People may be in love with their cars in this city, but they will also love the idea of getting out of the traffic and onto a train.

It's a shame to see the global media using the historic launch of the Dubai metro to launch further attacks on the city.

Instead, we should see this as a positive story. The fact that this project is being delivered as scheduled during a world-wide recession is a celebration of what Dubai stands for - unparalleled, luxurious and over-the-top development.

It's time the world looked on Dubai in a more favourable light and praised its leadership for achieving continued heavy inward investment.



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