Dubai government officials use public transport on car-free day

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Dubai – Joining her colleagues at the Etisalat metro station, Aisha, a government employee, excitedly hopped on a metro going towards the Union Station. “Car Free day is always an exciting time. I don’t use the metro often, but I think I should. It is convenient and I am saving on fuel,” said Aisha.

The young accountant and her colleagues had parked their cars in the multi-storey parking lots across Dubai’s several metro stations and bus depots in the early hours of Wednesday and were found eagerly waiting at metro stations and bus depots.

Employees of 303 government and private organisations took to using public transport on the sixth edition of ‘Car Free Day’ on February 4.

As compared to last year, where less than 70 organisations partook in car free day, Dubai Municipality officials said that they were very impressed with the participation from employees of the whooping 303 government and private entities.

“We are very happy with the turnout this year and we want more people to adopt using public transport regularly. Dubai has a high quality mass transportation system and we want people to us the infrastructure regularly,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality. The organisation had expected a participation of 15,000 cars, but from numbers gathered from the turnout at the event, officials are expecting the final number to go above estimates. The final figures of carbon monoxide emissions, and cars off the road will be released soon, according to Municipality officials. In 2014, twenty tonnes of carbon emissions were reduced on the day of the event.

Organised for the sixth year in a row, key highlight of this year was the presence of Shaikh Dr Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, aka the Green Sheikh, who also joined officials in the metro ride from Etisalat to Union Station. Issa Al Maidour, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority; Maj Gen Mohammed Saeed Bakhit, Director of General Department of Services and Supplies, Dubai Police; and Khalid Ali Bin Zayed, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality, and some directors from government departments, accompanied him.

The area outside the Dubai Municipality headquarters was converted into an exhibition ground, where everything from hybrid cars, a model of a scrap-collecting vehicles, remote controlled drones, and organically grown fruits and vegetables, were on display.

Nol Cards

Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the event, Lootah said: “About 3,800 special edition Nol cards were distributed to employees of both government and private sector organisations. We want to encourage people to use public transport more often and not just on car free day,” he said.

A lot is being done to raise public awareness about the harm of release of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. “Hybrid cars are an option and a lot of people are becoming more aware of the benefits of driving this. However, there must be a lot of interest from the general public to adopt such vehicles,” said Lootah. He also spoke about the proposed initiative to own a maximum of two cars per family. “We’ve pushed for legislations on the matter of reducing the number of cars one person can own, but for issues like this, we need cooperation from private organisations as well,” said Lootah.

Some of the participating organisations were Ministry of Environment and Water and the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Justice, and the Department of land and property, and Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, the General Command of Dubai Police, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, and the Roads and Transport Authority.

Source : KT


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