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Dubai’s car-free dream

Dubai’s car-free dream

Mark your calendars. The Dubai Municipality has declared February 17 as a no-car day. What a hope.

February 9, 2010 3:00 by

The Dubai Municipality has “declared” February 17 as a car-free day, according to Gulf News. Apparently the body has urged its employees and visitors not to use their cars on that day, and is encouraging companies across the emirate to do the same.

Having written thousands of words about the Middle East’s poor record on the environment, Kipp appreciates the initiative. But February 17 is a Wednesday, a working day. Most people need to get to their offices in the morning. Offices that are located across the city and maybe even beyond.

While some residents who turn car-free for the day may attempt to use public transport, Kipp is guessing that many people in Dubai have never even stepped inside a public bus, and so will probably be unaware of routes and schedules.

One of Dubai’s recent (tourist) attractions, the Metro, stops at just 11 stations in the city. Hunched-up car drivers who have never ridden a train in the morning may appreciate the nice top-angle view of the city that the Metro offers. But the probability of having your office near the station would possibly be around one in 100 or one in 1000 (according to Kipp’s random statistics. We could be completely wrong).

That leaves residents with the choice of using the city’s most expensive public transport – taxis. And technically, since taxis are also cars, they should probably be off the road as well.

So, while a ‘car-free’ day sounds like a great idea, it also seems like one of the most impractical ones. Kipp is guessing it might work better on a holiday or weekend day? Or at least if it is decided a few weeks or months in advance, and companies and the government ensure that most residents have access to non-car transport?

Do you think you will be willing to ditch your car for a day to support the environment?

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  1. Subs on February 10, 2010 6:01 am

    I would have joined the initiative, had I been a resident of Dubai.
    But, I fully support the cause and would join if done in my city in GCC

  2. Miss Anne Thropic on February 10, 2010 2:34 pm

    This kind of initiative is stupid lip service and doesn’t achieve a damn thing towards saving the planet. Better to focus on lifestyle changes and green technology research instead – shame that sort of thing isn’t very glamorous and is usually put in the too-hard basket.

  3. Louloua Younes on February 11, 2010 8:43 am

    It’s obviously not thought through, but let’s give them props for the intention.
    I would ditch my car and read a book, but I have no idea where the buses stop or go to, their schedules, and obviously taxis defeat the purpose.
    It might sound naive, but instead, why doesn’t the UAE turn to solar power? there’s plenty of it! and that would trully be a categoric change! or in the meantime, lower the ACs in malls – that’s huge power consumption!

  4. Ashwin Medhekar on February 15, 2010 9:04 am

    I work at the trade centre and live in Emirates Living. If both the metro stations attached to these locations were functional I would gladly not drive.


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