Dubai Metro by Gulf News
Arabs are car crazed. This is one generalization that is safe to make.
And Arab elites, are big car crazed. That’s another generalization safe to make.
No wonder that public transport systems across the Arab world have not really evolved since the 1960s. Increasingly fueled by easy oil money, and increasingly alienated from the needs of the masses, the health of cities or the safety of the environment, ruling and economic elites have made Arab cities into car cities. From Beirut to Cairo, and from Amman to Riyadh, it’s cars, cars and more cars. Cars cool. Busses Bad.
But as the Sheikhs of Dubai rode the US$ 7.8 Billion Metro tonight at 9 pm 9.9.09, suddenly, modern public transport has become cool.
Dubai made high rise glass towers cool. That’s why we have two of them on the 6th circle and all over the Arab world. Even Sudan is building them.
Dubai (and other Gulf States) and American influence on the region have big cars cool. That’s why you see all these petite, well groomed Ammani housewives in big black Land Rovers. And their husbands too of course. Custom duty exemptions on cars for army officers, parliamentarians and other officials often become the center of national debate. The valet parking disease has invaded every restaurant of Amman.
But now the oil Sheikhs are talking green, talking urban mobility. Maybe the car tide can be turned.
Thank you Dubai!