Thousands join Car Free Day campaign

More than 2,500 employees took Metro and buses as part of the municipality's push for greener living.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, right, the director general of Dubai Municipality, rides the Metro escalator with other officials.
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DUBAI // Thousands of government employees left their cars at home yesterday in support of the second annual Car Free Day.

More than 2,500 employees opted for public transport as part of the municipality's goal of achieving sustainable urban transport and enhancing air quality in the city.

The initiative, launched last year, gained new backing this year from the Land Department, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Etisalat and the Roads and Transport Authority.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, the director general of Dubai Municipality - who took the Metro to work yesterday - said he was pleased with the turnout and hopeful the enthusiasm would continue.

"After we initiated Car Free Day last year, many of our employees made it a regular practice," he said.

Municipality employee Huda Awad, a senior awareness officer at the food control department, said after last year's event she had started using the Metro more frequently.

"This initiative eases traffic and makes parking easier," she said. "Most of my journeys I take via the Metro now."

Mr Lootah was accompanied on the Metro by department heads, including the director general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hamad Buamim.

He said his staff had also been provided with Nol cards for the Metro. "Some even opted to go for the carpooling scheme and shun their cars, and are already talking about using the various public transport systems more frequently in the future."

He hoped Car Free Day would set a trend for adopting eco-friendly practices, and called on the business community to get involved.

Hamdan al Shaer, the director of the municipality's environment department and a frequent user of public transport, said he wanted to see more than one Car Free Day a year. "What's important is that leadership are setting an example for their staff by using public transport themselves to reduce the pollution of our environment."