Discrimination, racism, whatever it is

I’ve written about how I love the new public transport system in Dubai that is, the newly opened Dubai Metro Green Line. Now, it’s time to talk about what I hate about it – the people manning the trains. ‘Manning’ means supervising, checking on the passengers making sure no one eats, drinks or puts his/her feet on the seats. Well done, thank you very much.

My main complaint is the one assigned in the Gold Class cabin. You see, the train have this one compartment called the ‘Gold Class’ cabin where fares are charged double in exchange for wider, leather seats and front train view. The double fare would put off most people which makes the Gold Class cabin appealing during rush hour – there’s a sure seat waiting for you, 90% of the time. And if you’re heavily pregnant and leg cramps come your way even after 5 minutes of standing, you’d grab that 90% sure seating chance.

So I boarded the new Green Line, camera in hand, ready to take photos and a video. It was the first day and I was excited! I swiped my Gold Card (bought a limited edition commemorative one) and got on the train. There was only me, one other passenger and a Filipino lady train attendant. I positioned in the front, camera at the ready as the train pulled away.

Train attendant: “Excuse me, but not allowed.”

Me: (distracted) “Huh? I’m only taking a video.”

I thought she meant no video taking allowed but it’s allowed in the Red Line so why not here? I turned my back away on her.

Train attendant: “But you’re not allowed here.”

Me: “What? I am only taking a video and will sit down in a bit!”

At this point, I thought she meant I am not allowed to stand because I am pregnant and the train is approaching a bend in the tracks. She finally said it.

Train attendant: “Madame, you NEED a Gold Card to be in the Gold Class!”

All hell broke loose. I stopped the video, and almost screamed “But I have a Gold Class card!!”, to which she replied, “Show me.”

I showed her my card and she said sorry. I swear I could have slapped her! Way to ruin my morning! Rude customer service stories just go on and on and on in Dubai.

Seriously now, the fare was 4.60 dhs (USD1.25). Did she really think I am NOT capable of paying that amount and that I have no place in the Gold Class!? The most annoying of this is that, she did not even inspect the cards of the people who got in after me.

She singled me out!

I gave her dagger looks and she seemed to get the message. She asked one Arab man in local dress to see his card and she got a good scolding!

“Don’t you think I would be stupid enough to get on the Gold Class cabin if I didn’t have a Gold Card!!??”

The lady attendant turned red. Good for her! The Arab man did what I should have done!

I mean, I know it must be your job to ‘check’, to make sure passengers are seated in appropriate seats – Gold Class for Gold card holders and other cabins for the normal Silver card holders but lady, don’t single people out just because of how they look (brown, non-Arab like me!). The fare isn’t really worth diamonds that we brown, common working, non-Arab people can’t afford!!

RTA people, I don’t care if you have to check, BUT CHECK EVERYONE!

Conclusion/Piece of advice: If you’re brown and non-Arab, stick your Gold Card in your forehead!!