x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Train takes the strain as city staff spend day without cars

More than 1,500 Dubai Municipality staff leave their cars at home in an initiative to cut down on pollution and promote public transport.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, the director general of Dubai Municipality, left, takes the train to work with his colleagues in support of Car Free Day, yesterday.
Hussain Nasser Lootah, the director general of Dubai Municipality, left, takes the train to work with his colleagues in support of Car Free Day, yesterday.

DUBAI // More than 1,500 Dubai Municipality staff left their cars at home yesterday to mark Car Free Day, an initiative to cut down on pollution and promote public transport. Hussain Nasser Lootah, the municipality's director general, led by example by using the new Metro network. He boarded the VIP-class carriage in Al Rashidiya station and went just four stops to Union station, which is just a few minutes walk from his office.

He encouraged staff to use public transport yesterday by reimbursing their tickets. "We hope the green initiative, launched by the municipality to motivate and educate employees to use sustainable transport to preserve the environment, will be emulated by other government departments in Dubai," said Mr Lootah. The municipality, which was the first government body to endorse Car Free Day, closed its car park yesterday, giving employees no choice but to use public transport. The only staff exempted were field employees who needed their cars for work.

The civic body is currently compiling a report on Car Free Day, which will detail the reduction in carbon dioxide as a result of the hundreds of cars taken off Dubai's roads' for one day. Car Free Day started in the US during the 1970 oil crisis and now 1,500 cities in 40 countries cut the number of cars on its roads once a year. eharnan@thenational.ae