What a Contrast…….

The roads in Dubai and the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system are world class. While I was aware of the road quality in Dubai (though not completely impressed with the road sound which is higher than it should be at high speeds) due to my past several trips, I was amazed at the manner and the speed at which the MRT system has been completed in record time (looks like they did it in 2 years !).

And, compare that with the roads in Mumbai and the struggle to implement the MRT system. It is accepted that we are talking here about two cities with widely differing characteristics and infrastructure. Mumbai probably has four times the population of Dubai at the minimum. And has far too many complications to be controlled as effectively as a Dubai or a Singapore, no doubt !

However, the vast depths of the non-stop undulations on the most unremarkable roads in any major city occur in Mumbai and the difference is immediately palpable once your car pulls out of the Mumbai Airport on to its roads. Constant ups and downs. Craters. Never-ending construction work with no safety precautions or meagre safety to say the least. Confusing traffic signs. Police at every corner to catch motorists. Uneducated and foolish drivers, who risk their lives to cross a traffic signal (sometimes they do look well educated, wearing ties, etc.). Pedestrians who constantly keep crossing the roads, not heeding the traffic signals either. Pedestrians who even cross high-speed highways. Accidents involving heavy lorries. I can go on and on……..

None of this you can see in Dubai, which is truly an aspiring world-class city with almost impeccable infrastructure. My only complaint is that their carbon footprint appears to be on the higher side, given the number of malls (including the current biggest mall in the world). They can’t help it as their economy depends mostly on tourists.

Well, the contrast between the two cities cannot be more striking. Of course, the airports are vastly different as well. Dubai’s Airport is known as one of the most shopper-friendly and efficient airports in the world. It was painful earlier to get through Mumbai Airport, but these days it is easier to get out (though not to “get in”) of Mumbai Airport, breezing through the Immigration and Customs. However, the quality of the two airports is starkly different, for there to see by everyone – Mumbai has a long, long way to reach the level of sophistication, friendliness, infrastructure that the Dubai airport can easily boast of itself.

Hope we will catch up one day, may be within the next five years !


Vijay Srinivasan
2nd February 2011


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