DM chief calls for curb on vehicles on UAE roads

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DM chief calls for curb on vehicles on UAE roads Sajila Saseendran / 10 February 2014 Dubai Municipality Director-General Hussain Nasser Lootah asks to tighten car ownership laws and a hike in parking and insurance fees . Dubai’s civic chief has called for stricter car ownership laws, and a hike in parking and insurance fees to restrict the number of cars on the UAE roads. Dubai Municipality Director-General Hussain Nasser Lootah said federal authorities concerned should study ways to limit the cars plying on main roads in Dubai and other emirates as they were exceeding the roads’ capacity. He was responding to questions by Khaleej Times after a Press conference held to announce this year’s Car Free Day, an annual green initiative of the municipality to be held on February 19 this time. Lootah, who reportedly first made these suggestions at the Dubai-Hamburg 2014 Business Forum in Germany, clarified that it was a proposal and thorough studies have to be carried out before implementation. He apparently cited road congestion as a major challenge for Dubai in future. About two million cars ply on Dubai roads everyday. “We must have ownership regulations to slow down this (enormous increase in the number of cars). Our streets are getting jammed and it affects the daily life… the health of the people and the environment,” he said. “There are different ways to curb the number of cars… You can restrict car ownership based on the salary of people, the number of members in a family and the areas of work and home.” Lootah pointed out that cars are cheap in the UAE and parking fees are too low compared to many other countries. “Almost everybody can buy a car and there are more than one car in many families,” he said, while referring to the high taxation of car owners in Singapore as an example for curbing the number of vehicles. He said the way forward was to use public transport system, especially the Metro. “I am sure the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) is building Metro in different stages and will open many more stations covering more areas and increasing the capacity,” he said, replying to a query on the jam-packed trains during the peak hours. Brigadier Ahmed Obaid Alsayegh, assistant general manager for Fire Fighting and Rescue at the Dubai Civil Defence, said regulations to reduce road congestion were the need of the hour in Dubai. “Our (fire fighting) trucks are big and we have a response time of eight minutes. But if there is a traffic jam, they also get stuck for several minutes. “Dubai is growing and we need to have rules to make people use mass public transport. We also need to encourage the use of Metro especially among the young generation.” The official pointed out that cities like London and Singapore are managing traffic chaos by introducing congestion charges, high road toll, parking fee and taxation on car purchase. Singapore also has the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system in place to peg long-term vehicle population growth at threee per cent a year. According to the COE system, anyone wishing to buy a car or motorcycle has to bid for a COE. Each month, a certain number of COEs are released for bidding and if successful, the vehicle entitlement is valid for 10 years. After the 10-year period, the owner may decide to bid for a new COE either for 10 or five years to keep your vehicle on the road. For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →

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