Dubai: Dubai may still need a couple of years to get a significant number of residents aboard public transport, but serious initiatives have already begun.
Setting an example himself, Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, left his Range Rover and took the Metro from Etisalat to Union Metro Station, along with top officials like Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, and Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, Minster of Education, to mark the Car Free Day on Wednesday, which was observed by 27 government and private organisations.
“The Metro is comfortable, saves traffic snarls and I find it much relaxing,” said Lootah.
Over 5,000 employees left their cars at home and took public transport during the initiative, which resulted in the reduction of 14 tonnes of carbon emissions. Dubai has a relatively low usage of public transport and the government aims to raise the share of public transport use to 30 per cent by 2030. Many Dubai Municipality employees said they take the Metro on a regular basis.
Zainab, who works with the Projects Department and has been driving for 37 years, said: “I start at 7am for work. It’s peak traffic time on Shaikh Zayed Road. Taking the Metro has not just helped me save on fuel cost, but I can now start my day without any stress.”
According to food safety expert Basheer Hassan, “All of us in my family use the Metro now.” Ayesha Abdul Karim from the Buildings Department, said her children always enjoyed the Metro ride.