x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Take the train not the car, workers urged

Hundreds of municipal staff will not have to worry about traffic jams next week - they'll be leaving their cars at home and taking public transport to work.

Traffic jams like this one on Sheikh Zayed Road, near the Mall of the Emirates, can be avoided by using the Metro.
Traffic jams like this one on Sheikh Zayed Road, near the Mall of the Emirates, can be avoided by using the Metro.

DUBAI // Hundreds of municipal staff will not have to worry about traffic jams next week - they'll be leaving their cars at home and taking public transport to work. Car Free Day, next Wednesday, is part of the civic authority's new environmental initiative to cut the number of vehicles on the roads. It was announced yesterday by Hussain Lootah, the municipality's director general, who said he would take the Metro from his home in Al Rashidiya to his office.

More than 1,500 municipal workers are being encouraged to take part. The private buses that the municipality uses to take some of its employees to work will be left in the garage, and municipal car parks will be closed. Staff may use public buses, the Metro or water taxis. The initiative is aimed at encouraging residents to consider alternative transport, and Mr Lootah urged them to join in. "We hope this would encourage other departments to follow. Hopefully, after this, municipality staff would leave their cars at home more often," he said.

A detailed report on the results of the initiative will include the volume of carbon dioxide emissions saved. Hamdan al Shaer, the director of the environment department, said transport contributed to 42 per cent of gas pollution in Dubai. Running vehicles emit between 110 and 250 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. "In addition to the vehicles that enter Dubai from other emirates, there are more than one million vehicles in Dubai, as per the number available in 2009, and they emit more than 23 million kilograms of carbon dioxide a day," he said.

pmenon@thenational.ae