While we have an efficient and new Metro system here in Dubai, and most of us live within a bus journey away from the Metro, it’s still seems to take a fair while for a whole journey to be made so more often than not, we hop in a taxi or opt to simply drive door to door. But what happens when we want our children to become more independent ?
One of the first things they would do back home is probably start taking public transport to get around. Yes they can do that here too, but my advice would be to do the route with them first, on the bus and metro if need be and see exactly where they get on and off, make them aware of all the roads they need to cross to get to and from their final destination. It seems like a little point and we will be seen as nagging parents, but it probably isn’t a good idea for them to listen to their I Pod the whole journey as they need to be aware of what’s going on at least while the experience is new to them.
Taking a taxi is so normal for teenagers here in Dubai (and quite unusual back home as it’s prohibitively expensive ) and if they do have to take one, try and encourage them at least initially to go with a friend you know, and if possible avoid them taking taxis late at night to get home, better to organize for them to be collected by another parent.
If they are in a taxi, ask them to make a point of quickly texting you the taxi number (on the side of the cab usually) so you have a trace if necessary. Teenage girls especially should be quite careful about how they dress, particularly when they happen to be alone in a taxi, so encourage them to take an extra cardigan light jacket or even shawl to cover up a bit when alone in a cab. Perhaps they are unnecessary precautions but better to be safe than sorry.
Hopefully bus routes will improve as time goes on in Dubai and more places will become better connected but until that time, stay safe.