UAE ministers and senior Dubai officials take the Metro to encourage the use of public transport during the Car-Free Day drive on Sunday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani / Gulf News

Dubai: Tens of thousands of vehicles were taken off the roads of Dubai on Sunday.

The reason: It's a car-free day.

Ministers, departments heads, officials of civic bodies in Dubai left their vehicles at home and took public transport — mostly by Metro — on Sunday for Dubai's Car Free Day.

Dubai kickstarted its 9th Car Free Day with top officials leading the drive by ditching cars to work this morning.

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The atmosphere was festive. Many participants emerged from underground train stations near government buildings in Deira carrying flags or home-made art work drumming up support for the campaign.

Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment joined Hussain Naseer Lootah, Director General is Dubai Municipality, and heads of various government departments to lead the initiative.

The senior officials boarded the metro from the Etisalat station to reach the Union Station. 

A grand celebration was held at the Union Metro Park. 

Several people who took part by not driving today have reached the venue.

Exhibition of environmental friendly vehicles and other solutions is also being held at the venue. 

Beyond Dubai

The campaign has gone beyond Dubai this year — with municipalities in Al Ain, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah also taking part for the first time. 

Government departments, private companies and educational institutions have encouraged their employees to use the public transport on Sunday.

Dubai Media City has offered free parking for employees coming to work by carpooling. 

Prizes, incentives

The security guards at Dubai Media City will allow four employees sharing one car if they post their selfie in the car and post it on social media using #DMcarpool, the free zone authority posted on Twitter.

Dubai Municipality is also running a social media contest for the participants of Car Free Day. Three winners will be given iPad Mini5, Apple Watch and coupons, the civic body had announced. 

To gain traction among motorists, valuable prizes are up for grabs for Car-Free Day participants.

To join, participants must take a picture or a video while using public transport, bicycles or while walking.

“Participants must use #DubaiCarFreeDay hashtag when posting these. They must post on their Instagram account while mentioning Dubai Municipality account @dubaimunicipality using #DubaiCarFreeDay,” the municipality said.

Three winners will be selected through a draw, it said.