Dubai mulls minimum salary for car owners

Municipality could also increase parking fees, fuel costs or insurance prices to tackle road congestion problem
Image for illustrative purposes only
By Staff writer
Sun 09 Feb 2014 10:42 AM

Dubai authorities are considering introducing a scheme that would restrict car ownership to those earning above a certain salary, a top official was quoted as saying.

Speaking to Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper, Dubai Municipality director general Hussein Lootah said that “soft” regulations such as encouraging car pooling and other awareness programmes had failed to curb soaring use of automobiles in the emirate, which often sees gridlock traffic during rush hour.

“Everybody has their luxury life,” Lootah told the newspaper in an interview. “But the capacity of our roads cannot take all of these cars without ownership laws.”

A salary limit scheme, he said, would limit ownership to those earning above a certain salary. This is currently just one idea, Lootah added, with no current timeline for implementation.

Lootah said that authorities may also increase charges for those who choose to drive via indirect means. “We should increase parking fees, increase fuel costs, insurance prices,” he said. “It costs AED30 ($8.20) [in Germany] to park for half an hour — AED1 per hour in Dubai.”

Dubai has plans to expand its metro system, opened in 2010, and will also launch its first tram network later this year. Lootah said that the municipality hoped to encourage more residents in the emirate to use public transport. “There are other alternatives — taxis, buses, metros. I will build more metros,” he said. “We will expand the metro, station by station. We have buses, luxury buses - but the people don’t go for it because their cars are very cheap.”

A number of countries around the world apply steep taxes to residents who choose to drive rather than use public transport. In Singapore, to obtain a Certificate of Entitlement to purchase a car, buyers must first pay a government charge of between $48,000 and $92,000.

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