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Car-free day

Car-free day

Do you think car-free day is a good idea? Will you be leaving your car at home on Wednesday? Kipp can see trouble

February 7, 2011 3:59 by

Having lived in Dubai for a while now, Kipp is as much a fan of impractical ideas as the next man or woman. Do you want to build the world’s tallest building? Sure, go ahead. Do you want to inform everyone three months before a final final deadline to get your national ID, and then scrap penalties for not complying? Okey-dokey. Do you think that a ski slope in the desert sounds good idea? Let’s go for it.

But every now and then we raise our sleepy head and roll our eyes at the more… let’s call them ambitious, ideas. Take for instance, the second ever Car Free Day that the government is very proudly planning and already patting itself heartily on the back for. The Car-Free day, which will happen this Wednesday, will see around 2,500 government officials, employees from the Dubai Municipality, Dubai Land Department, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Etisalat leave their cars at home and use public transport instead.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of the Municipality told Khaleej Times, “The idea is to educate them about the benefits of public transport and how to use the Metro, buses and abras. Some [of the government employees] have never been to the Metro or used a bus.”

The idea is a noble one, but Kipp is not thrilled. Now, apart from having to battle through the usual rowdy gang of rude passengers, we will have to elbow our way through a larger sea of passengers, and we will have to deal with first time users of the public transport system. So a quick refill at the ticket top-up counters might just take thirty minutes because the ‘newbie’ in front of you is trying to feed the machine a hundred dirham note; or what about when the newbie haphazardly flashes his NOL card on the checkout machine, rendering it useless?

It is great for Dubai to take such magnificent steps in the right direction, but it’s a problem when the public transport system (which they hope car users will switch to) is under developed and incapable of handling larger crowds. All we’ll get is a bunch of car users having their worst suspicions of public transport confirmed, and vowing never to abandon their cars again.

Do you think car-free day is a good idea? Will you be leaving your car at home on Wednesday?

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