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The road less travelled without a car

The road less travelled without a car

Instead of promoting Car-Free Days, would the municipality’s time be better spent developing public transport routes?

January 15, 2012 5:05 by

So it is that time of the year again when some ‘ecologically friendly’ people keep their petrol guzzling SUVs at home, take the public transport to work and pat themselves on the back for being such good citizens of mother Earth. Of course, it’d probably be another year till the next time they’d use public transportation—but it is the thought that counts, right?

January 18th is officially the third Car Free Day in the UAE—part of a campaign to cut air pollution levels. Forget the massive toll aviation giants like Emirates, Etihad and Fly Dubai creates on the environment on a regular basis. Who worries about estimations that by 2020 airplanes will be the single biggest contributor to global warming? These are just estimations, aren’t they? No doubt aggressive plans of increasing routes and fleets for these companies will continue.

“It is true that this is just for one day, but it encourages people to use mass transport. Next year we hope more private companies will participate in the Car Free Day. The idea is that one day we hope to have our city without any cars in cooperation with everybody,” Dubai Municipality’s director general, Hussain Lootah said at a press conference.

Lootah expects 2,500 staff from the municipality to leave their cars behind and a reduction of 10.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions on January 18th. A considerable increase from the 3 tones reduction of CO2 emissions last year.

When we asked our readers if they’d leave their car behind come January 18th, here is one rather telling response we got: “Life is too short to sit and think about the logistics involved in getting from Motorcity to JLT and back on public transport – while I love the Metro, RTA buses and death cabs are a complete and utter fail!” -Kate Mullen.

Kate brings up an important point- the lack of effective and established bus routes means connectivity between public transportation systems in the UAE. Kipp remembers of a friend who once tried the bus from Sahara Centre in Sharjah to Dubai Festival City that took almost two hours! A sheer waste considering the journey would ordinarily taken twenty minutes.

Thinking about the notion of every day being a car-free day is a long ways off that it’s even difficult to see it on the horizon. Getting around isn’t too much of an issue if one uses the metro-but God forbid you should veer away from the Red or Green line…

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