The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) has opened the road for the three-wheel autorickshaw, popular means of transportation to villages and small cities in India and Pakistan, to debut in Dubai, shuttling visitors to and from the 2km stretch of Festival Promenade for shopping and watching the entertainment activities.
Known ‘Tuk Tuk’ in many countries including Egypt, the six units of autorickshaws have given an opportunity to Emirati youth to enjoy the fun of driving the visitors and shoppers around the Festival Promenade and to experience the unique way of interacting with them during the DSF.
Emirati Jamal Al-Suwaidi told Khaleej Times that he went to Pakistan to order six Tuk Tuks for the shopping festival, and hopefully, for
UAE’s National Day. “The Dubai Economic Department has encouraged me and other Emiratis to provide transport service this DSF at the Festival Promenade. Tuk Tuks are not allowed on the main thoroughfares.”
He said that more visitors come to Festival Promenade on weekends where there are stage shows like the look-alikes and other family entertainment. “More than 30 passengers take their Tuk Tuk ride on Thursdays and Fridays,” he said.
Jamal spent Dh70,000 for bringing the six units of Tuk Tuks all the way from Pakistan. “I have changed the seats, engine, speakers, music players, body paints and put on much lights around all sides to make them attractive.”
Nasser Al Mansoori, 16, said he loved driving the guests around
the Festival Promenade, even up to Festival City. We thank also the DSF and the Economic Department for supporting us in many ways like allowing us to interact with people and providing service to them this time.”
He said that he earned between Dh100 and Dh150 with this Tuk Tuk driving daily ten or more shoppers during weekdays, but more than
Dh700 on weekends. “I am glad that the Economic Department is supporting the local people like me. It is fun. I love the rickshaw.”
Ibrahim bin Nasser, 31, said he earned more than Dh700 from 6pm to 10pm, driving visitors around the Festival Promenade, usually on Thursdays and Fridays and Dh150 to Dh200 on week days.
“I enjoy driving this Tuk Tuk. I thank the DSF for giving us this opportunity to be part of it this year. I am charging Dh50 for one round and Dh30 for one-way passengers.”
He said that all drivers of the six units of Tuk Tuks are Emiratis. “The original cost of each is Dh15,000 but Jamal spent Dh7,000 more for each Tuk Tuk for remodelling them.”
Visitors and shoppers at the Festival Promenade enjoy not just the DSF entertainments, music, and shopping but also the Tuk Tuk rides.
Ryan Muterry, 17, and his sister, Jody from Saudi Arabia, who flew in two days ago to Dubai just to see what the DSF could offer them, said that they enjoyed the Tuk Tuk ride as there was nothing like it in Saudi. But, most of all, they enjoyed the shopping of very cheap clothing, shoes and bags that they were able to buy from the various malls of Dubai.
“We will definitely come back next DSF. We only come here for a week. The entertainment is really superb. The goods are very discounted, even the signature products. We love Dubai. We love DSF,” Jody said.
Everyday, the solo musicians give the entire place on a special feel with sweet music from various musical instruments wafting in the air. Solo musicians from different countries are playing metres apart from each other throughout the Festival Promenade playing the canon, cello, oud, harp, flute, saxophone, table, and others. On weekends, the international shows, the look-alikes, and other family entertainment mesmerise the crowds.