I was meeting a friend at Palm Jumeirah yesterday, and decided to go about it the tourist way, hanging on to my fast-dwindling bucks for all they are worth. Naive as I am (it’s pathetic to be naive at 46 going on 47, I know), I went up to Dubai Marina aka Damac Properties station by Dubai Metro, then hopped on to the tram in all excitement – I hadn’t ventured thus far as yet. Which took me to Station # 9, where I would be able to get on to Dubai Monorail.
Walked the pretty long and uninspiring walk to the station too. An admittedly eerie place – at least it felt like that to me. Went up to the ticket counter and asked for a one way ticket to the Palm which would have come to AED 15 – ‘would have’ being the operative term here.
At that point I made a colossal mistake. I asked the person at the ticket counter how I can get to Frond O from where the monorail ends. He said it’s better to take a cab from downstairs as the train did not take me to where I was supposed to go.
Climbed down to where the arrows led the way. Strangely, the ticket-giver got up from his seat and came to the escalator to guide me! I should have smelled the rat then… I reached an eerier spot, where some guys in non-uniforms were sitting around. They got up eagerly on sighting me – maybe I had HERE COMES THE PREY written in bold all caps somewhere above my head?
The whole set up looked highly suspicious, particularly since the only cars that were to be seen were some Lexus.
On hindsight I wish I had followed my instinct and walked back to the tram station.
I asked the person/people there why there are no normal taxis and they replied that one did not get RTA taxis there – only those high end cars, as the monorail is run by a separate company. I asked the driver who came with the car as well as the person who guided me there about the fare. They both assured me that the fare is calculated according to the meter.
Now Frond O is exactly 7 minutes away, even going by the circuitous road from the station, past half the length of the monorail tracks. On reaching the villa, I took out my purse and asked for the bill.
“114 Dirhams, Ma’am,” the friendly fiend at the wheel said, without batting an eyelid.
“What???” I almost fainted.
“Yes, ma’am. AED 114.” And he showed me some calculations.
“But you told me the fare is according to the meter!”
“Yes ma’am, but it’s different from normal taxis.” The monster continued to smile.
No, I did not pass out. Nor did I rant and rave. Both of which I would/should have done, given the situation. But I was at my friend’s doorstep, and it was the first time I was visiting her… and common sense (that damper) told me it wouldn’t do to create a scene if I were to make any impression.
What can I say except that the moment was a surreal one!
And now? Here I am, tapping away at my mac, hoping to take revenge the only way can – with words.
Please, please SHARE this – a hundred and fourteen bucks translates to approximately 2000 Indian Rupees. More than what a family in India needs to survive for a week. Let no one else become a victim to the high-end con as I did.