Even in the pavement sparse lands of the metropolis that is Dubai it is still possible to commute without a car – yes, really – and with Car Free Day happening this month we thought we’d take a little look at how you can do it.
Maybe you’re thinking about going car-free for environmental reasons, after all, greenhouse gas emissions are no joke. In fact, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transportation makes up almost 30% of carbon emissions and most of this is from cars.
Not owning a car can also save you a ton of cash. Between petrol, insurance, repairs, registration, testing and parking you’re easily spending AED 30,000 a year in car-related expenses.
So, whether this day inspires you to go completely car-free or to just try to use your car less, you have numerous options for getting to work.
On your bike.
Probably the most obvious and popular way to get to work without a car is on a bicycle. It’s a great form of exercise, and a bike requires a lot less maintenance than a car would.
Before you start peddling though, take some time to map out your route, use something like Google Maps to help you figure out an estimate of the time and distance. Then make sure you fit in a trial run before your first trip, preferably on a weekend when you don’t have to be any where on time.
Chances are, for most of your commute you’ll be riding near traffic, so think safety first. You’re responsible for obeying traffic signals just as you would be while driving. Install lights on your bike and wear reflective gear if you’re riding at night or early in the morning, and don’t forget your helmet!
Now, we know it’s still a little sticky outside so make sure to pack clothes to change into when they arrive at work so you don’t spend the whole day feeling gross.
Trains, Trams, Ferries and Buses.
Take advantage of the numerous forms of public transport now available to Dubai commuters. Hop on the metro, the tram or take a bus. Maybe you could even take advantage of the water taxis and ferries for a more relaxing, traffic free commute!
Before you start, and especially if you’re new to the public transport scene, make sure you do your research. Download the handy RTA S’hail app for to see bus times, routes and to help you plan the most efficient trip using the metro, trams and buses.
Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need at first, especially if you’re taking the bus and you’re travelling during rush hour traffic.
Just think, the extra time on bus or metro means you can catch up on reading, listen to music or podcasts, or simply relax. Plus, commuting on public transport is a great way to learn more about Dubai, after all, as a passenger you have more time to observe than you would as a driver.
Walk the walk.
Yes, you can commute the old-fashioned way – if you live close enough! All you need is a decent pair of walking shoes and a bottle of water.
Granted, walking to work will probably take you a lot longer than any other way of getting there, but it can be a great way to keep your spirits up and get your 10,000 steps in. In fact a study from McGill University found that walking commuters experienced a less stressful commute than drivers and public transit riders!
Just like with cycling, carry a change of clothes and shoes with you for the office and you’re golden.
Share a ride.
Now, technically this isn’t a car-free commute…but it’s definitely easier on the environment.
Chat to your coworkers, check community groups and see if there are others heading your way at the same time and hop in with them. If everyone chips in for petrol – perhaps even rotates driving duty – you’ll be saving heaps and you’ll have someone to chat to on your commute.
A little bit of everything.
Maybe you can’t go car-free but you want to drive less. A great thing to do is to try is switch up your transportation during a long commute. Perhaps you can drive a shorter distance to a public transportation stations, then take that the rest of the way.
Or you could mix up some of the car-free modes of transit. For instance, biking to a bus, getting a lift most of the way and peddling the last stretch to your office.
Now, we know the summer weather makes us wary of being away from the AC for too long, but for one day you could give it a try, and you never know…you may fall in love with car-free commuting!Written by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director