Dubai: Shanti Robin, 54, has been working as a housemaid in Dubai for 22 years and uses public transport frequently to travel for work.
On Sunday, she became one of 30 winners of a 50gm gold bar each for being the most frequent user of Dubai Metro and public buses.
The sole breadwinner of her family, who supports her four children back home in Tamil Nadu state of India, couldn’t hold back her tears as she received the prize from Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority, at Burj Plaza.
The prizes were part of RTA’s efforts to reward frequent users as the authority celebrated Public Transport Day, which coincided with RTA’s 10th anniversary.
Among the other gold winners was Anwer Zakirov, from Uzbekistan, who said the metro is part of his life.
“I have been in Dubai for five years and since then I have used the metro almost every day. I have a car, but I prefer using the metro as it is more convenient and easy to use,” said Zakirov.
Another gold winner, Moulana Abu Saeed from Bangladesh, said: “I make several trips on the metro and buses daily as I my job involves going out, but I never thought I would win a prize for it. It feels great.”
Frequent users were divided into five categories with each trip of a commuter getting 50 points. Commuters with a minimum of 20 trips in the last ten days qualified.
“We gave away different prizes as part of our efforts to appreciate the contribution of commuters and encourage more people to use public transport. Twenty gold bars of 50gm each were awarded over the last 10 days apart from the 10 awarded on Sunday,” said Moaza Al Merri, director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at RTA.
Other prizes included 10 Nol Gold cards, 10 Beats headphones, 10 Apple Watches and 10 MacBooks.
Prizes were also given away through daily draws and social media contests.
Activities on Public Transport Day included blood donation camps, free health checks, an open gym activity at Burj Plaza and a public transport marathon for government departments.
Taxi drivers rewarded for impeccable record
Quddus Miyan has been working as a taxi driver in Dubai for 11 years and he has never had an accident, a traffic fine or a complaint against him.
The RTA awarded Miyan and several other taxi drivers a cash prize of Dh20,000 each for their impeccable record.
But Miyan’s case stands out for the number of years he has managed to remain accident-free.
“I always follow the rules and make sure to keep customer service my top priority. Thankfully I have remained free of accidents or fines,” said the 36 year old from Bangladesh.
Miyan’s compatriot, Syed Alamdar, has managed to maintain an unblemished record for years, a shorter period, but still no mean feat.
“You need to have a cool head to be a taxi driver, and you need to be constantly alert while at the same time you have to be courteous. Thankfully, I have managed to do that,” said Alamdar from Pakistan.