Having worked for a transit body in the West has given me a deep insight into the day-to-day operational challenges of Transit Systems. While operational procedures may vary on a global scale, there is always an element of commonality that presents problems to even the most efficient and organized commissions.

There are some issues that I would like to address but the one that takes  precedence is safety, especially Child Safety.

This is a huge issue which often bogs down many transit systems around the world and a lot more needs to be done before all systems can assure absolute safety for children. I have often witnessed parents committing safety-related errors under the pretence of a fun-filled experience for the child, totally ignoring the necessary safety guidelines.

Recently, I had the pleasure of taking the Dubai Metro, my first since moving to Dubai. Although I was only on for a few stops, I couldn’t help notice the safety gaps the system needs to address – not only generally, but particularly towards Child Safety.

Indeed, the Dubai authorities have spared no expense in the planning and execution of this state-of-the-art system. No doubt, the automated trains narrow down the margin of error to an acceptable level. The station barriers, an essential tool for the safety of passengers, are still on the wish-list of transit agencies around the world.

The spotlessly clean and tastefully designed facilities are in keeping with the Dubai image of a world-class city.

However, in the Children’s Safety area, much needs attention. Since the trains are packed to the brim, it increases the chance of mishaps or accidents on board. Hence, ‘frequency’, perhaps, needs to be looked at.

Perhaps, there is a need to designate ‘parents with children’ seating area; and also, quite importantly, a place to stow away strollers or baby carriages. Given there is a first-class with perks available, implementation of more safety features will be truly helpful.

With visible and approachable security personnel around, one feels quite safe to take the Dubai Metro. Besides them and, of course, the well-informed Ticket Collector, it seems there is no one available for any kind of general information, if required, or to assist customers with children.

Dubai strives to ‘be the best’ in offering facilities that are apparent by its airline, hotels, housing, hospitals, overall infrastructure and above all, its attitude. Perhaps, the concerned authorities may take greater cognizance of improving further the ‘Child Safety’ practices by adding to their menu:

  1. Visible indoor/outdoor signage in the stations
  2. Accessible, trained customer-oriented personnel/staff
  3. ‘Child Safety’ awareness campaign, educating parents on the subject.

I hope this article is taken in the spirit in which it was written. A constructive, positive and un-biased feedback on the potential opportunities for improving an already world class service.

 

A.Lawati is a retired Train Operator from Canada and has written and published several children’s books. His latest book is about teaching children ‘Safety’ when taking public transport. He can be reached at authorlawati@gmail.com for a comment. For more on the author, please visit http://authorlawati.authorsxpress.com/

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