15 Things we learned from Dubai Car Free Day 2016

Screenshot 2016 02 21 21 34 10

There is an objective behind all this. Dubai wants to be the most environmentally friendly city in the world. It has some way to go by all accounts, and this is just one small part of the efforts. 

For some people, it’s simply not practical to take public transport, so it was great to see much of the media supporting the initiative. We decided to participate in the Car Free Day to experience it for ourselves. Here is what we learned.

1. More than 30,000 cars were left at home!

This is the 7th annual car free day and it's been growing year on year.

2. Public transport takes a lot longer, but that's not the full story...

We learned that Dubai has great public transport and it’s just as quick getting around as other cities. The problem is, the roads are too good, so when you compare public transport to driving, driving always wins.

It took us one hour and thirty minutes to get to work today. Usually it’s a 10-minute drive door to door.

  • Walk to bus stop – 10 minutes
  • Bus stop wait – 15 minutes
  • Bus journey – 35 minutes
  • Metro stop wait – 5 minutes
  • Metro journey – 10 minutes
  • Walk to office – 15 minutes

It other inner cities, door-to-door commonly takes over an hour using public transport, but it also takes the same time when driving in those cities, not so in Dubai.

3. The RTA have some very handy mobile apps to help you get around!

4. There are alternative ways to get around!

5. The authorities lead by example!

6. There aren’t that many ads on the metro!

We were amazed to see that there were no ads on the bus, and only a few on the metro. There were however metro stops named after banks and electronics stores, so many brands are more ingrained in the ecosystem than we realise!

7. This guy even ran to work from Sharjah to Dubai!

A photo posted by Yahya KADD (@xkadd) on

8. Burj Al Arab got involved!

9. Even with less cars on the road, the fog can still cause accidents!

10. The EWS WWF crew showed their support

A photo posted by EWS-WWF (@ews_wwf) on

11. Catboy took to the streets!

12. There was a rush to make work on time.. but most people made it!

13. Dubai Municipality held an event at Kite beach – and people loved it!

14. Uber supported the event by offering a car sharing deal!

15. Public transport is cheap!

The whole day cost me about AED 10, that includes two bus journeys and two metro journeys. Taxi’s alone for the same commute would have been approximately AED 60. 


What about the environment? There is no doubt as to the benefit of having less cars on the road would be to the environment, it’s just very hard to see the positives as an individual. For that reason, it needs to be a collective effort, the authorities, the wider transport industry and the people of Dubai as well. 

It does however make you feel a little bit better knowing that you have done a little bit for the environment, for the next generation. Even to take time out to consider the environment, it worth the feat alone. 

Now read: 31 crazy ways you've got too used to living in Dubai

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