Edit (2-20-08) to include this link to the RTA Route Map
Public transportation in Dubai is pretty lacking here (only buses right now, a metro is under construction) which is why people prefer to drive or cab if they can afford it. And, petrol is cheap.
The first time I took the bus in Dubai was last week with Scotch when the cab we had called the night before decided to leave us stranded. Scotch had left the car at the office as he had gone drinking with the boys. We normally catch a cab at the Hilton that is right across from us but as the forecast was for rain, we thought we’d play it safe and pre-order a cab for 7:45 the next morning. We all know cabs are a dime a dozen and always honking at you when you don’t need them but when it rains, they’re either off-duty or no where to be found.
At 7:40am the cabbie called – to tell us he was downstairs, so we thought – but he was actually calling to tell us that he had picked up an airport customer so would NOT be picking us up. I think Scotch went off the deep end at this point. I cannot repeat for the sake of PG-13-ness the words that flew out of his mouth. We tried but could not get through to any cab company that morning (we can’t get through on a sunny day, let alone a rainy day).
So out we went into the rain hoping to hail a cab on the street. Outside, everywhere we looked there were people already staking out each corner trying to do the same thing. Scotch had an important meeting at 8:30 so we decided to try the bus. I had read that the new x25 bus route runs express, was utilizing only new buses, and noticed that it conveniently goes up the road to Scotch’s work – seemed promising. Now, if only we knew where the bus stop was and if we could pay with cash, coins, MetroCard??
We stood in front of a building where we thought the bus stop was (deduced from being stuck behind the bus a few times in our car) as there was no bus post nor bus shelter, nothing. Luckily the bus came within 5 minutes to pluck us out of the cold, rainy, blustery morning. Scotch used the 5 minutes of waiting time to call up the cabbie again and give him another earful for being irresponsible, greedy, and that he would report his *ss. Honestly, not sure if the cabbie gave a d*mn.
Although we seemed to be the only people waiting for the bus, as soon as it showed up, 10-15 people appeared out of thin air to push their way in front of us. Where did they come from? Were they hiding underneath the parked cars? Haven’t they heard of something called a line? or queue?
We told the driver where we wanted to go and he told us, “Two Dirhams!” Scotch paid the driver a fiver, got his 1 Dirham change, and proceeded to sit next to me in the front of the bus. That’s when I had to tell him that he couldn’t sit there as only ladies can sit in the front. So he got up and went towards the back. Why didn’t he just sit behind me? Silly.
It took about 35 minutes to reach our destination which wasn’t too bad as it normally takes us 15 minutes to drive ourselves. There was a lot of serious flooding on the roads which reinforced our decision even more to get an SUV.
We played a bit of real life Frogger when we got off the bus as there didn’t seem to be a crosswalk anywhere for miles. Mm-hm. Such are rainy days.