The great race

So, which is the fastest way to get around Dubai? We made it our mission to find out...

The Knowledge

Daisy Carrington: bus
Gayathri Krishnan: car
James Wilkinson: Metro
Laura Chubb: taxi

16.15pm

Bus: I set off in search of the bus stop. Two bus routes go to Mall of the Emirates. Alas, I can only find the stop for the slower one.

Car: I zoom out of the BurJuman carpark – well, after paying Dhs10 for five minutes of parking. Daylight robbery! Off to MoE.

Metro: We’re off! Surely I, with my superior locomotive transportation, will be the winner? Just got to find the station…

Taxi: I casually saunter out of BurJuman, where a long line of vacant cabs eagerly awaits.

16.16pm

Taxi: I’m already on the move. Even sweeter, I spot Daisy slogging to the bus stop in the mid-afternoon heat while I recline in AC bliss. Short straw, anyone?

16.18pm

Car: At a red light between Karama and Mankhool in a sea of cars. Where are all these people going on a Saturday afternoon? A metro train rockets by in all its blue and silver glory. Green light! Whoopee!

Metro: I manage to find my way out of BurJuman after only, er, three minutes.

16.22pm

Metro: In the station, surrounded by people snapping photos; bizarre to think I’ll turn up in the background of someone’s Facebook page. I am directed to the (un-signposted) Jebel Ali line.

Taxi: Having waited at traffic for an age, we hit Sheikh Zayed Road. The road looks pretty clear – very promising.

16.25pm

Car: I glance over to where the Burj Al Arab sits, reminiscing about the day that she was the toast of the town. Seven stars never seems to go out of fashion.

16.28pm

Taxi: I’m drawing level with the Burj Al Arab when, for the first time since we started out, I see a train running parallel to me on the left. Is James on it? I reckon he must be. I start imagining his victory dance and it’s enough to make me consider turning back.

Metro: No victory dance. No train, even; still waiting on the platform.

16.30pm

Bus: I’m sitting on a ledge in front of Spinneys waiting for the bus. Getting sweatier by the minute.

Car: Muppet that I am, I’ve absent-mindedly missed the MoE exit and am now on my way to Media City. Four minutes later I am back on track, my car hungry for a parking spot in the maze that is the MoE parking lot.

Taxi: I’m near Mall of the Emirates metro station now, and the train’s pulling in. I already feel defeated.

16.32pm

Metro: The train arrives after 10 minutes of thumb twiddling. The crowd converges on the doors. I eschew gold class and its leather luxury, for I am a man of the people. Viva la transport revolution!

16.33pm

Taxi: As we pull up at the mall entrance, the meter reads Dhs36. I pay and prepare to leg it to Après.

16.42pm

Metro: The metro gives the perfect viewpoint on The Burj Dubai; thanks to the elevation, you can see it from top to glittering bottom. Sadly, the tuneless, endlessly repeating music playing in the carriages is driving me nuts.

16.45pm

Bus: The bus is here! Finally!

Metro: The scenic views are gone: Al Ghandi Auto is no Burj. The music makes me want to kill someone – possibly everyone.

Taxi: ARRIVED! Having been directed entirely the wrong way three times, I finally find Après. No one’s there. A quick text to James confirms that I won. Woo hoo! I treat myself to a browse in Virgin Megastore.

16.51pm

Car: ARRIVED! Get to Après, but my mini-detour cost me a good six minutes. Damn Laura’s non-digressing, ox-like focus. I demand a do-over.

16.51pm

Metro: We arrive at the station. Everyone remains un-murdered.

17.00pm

Bus: We’re zooming up Sheikh Zayed Road at a good pace, and we pass the Four Points By Sheraton. Maybe this won’t take that long after all.

Metro: The ticket barriers and escalators are overcrowded, so it takes a good six minutes to even get out of the station, and a further three to get into the mall proper.

17.04pm

Metro: ARRIVED! I finally arrive at Après. Third place! Outrage. Good job I don’t pay taxes or I’d ask for them back.

17.15pm

Bus: I pass by an ominous sign pointing to the Al Quoz graveyard. Awesome, we’re already in Al Quoz. The mall’s got to be close.

18.00pm

Bus: I see a sign pointing to Barsha. Seriously, how much further?

18.15pm

Bus: The bus finally stops, letting us out in the middle of nowhere. I could take another bus to the Mall, but I can’t stand waiting any longer. I lurch towards the first cab that passes my way.

18.28pm

Bus: ARRIVED! After a well-deserved swig of water, I admit to catching a cab. They agree that, after two hours on a bus, this is not a punishable offence.

The results:

Winner: taxi (30 minutes; Dhs36)
Second place: car (35 minutes; Dhs10 for parking)
Third place: Dubai Metro (50 minutes; Dhs6.50)
Last place: bus (135 minutes; Dhs4.10)
The result: The road remains the fastest means, but the metro is the cheapest. We’ll see how the four fare again in six months, when roads are busier and the metro system is more complete.

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