In many ways modern, Dubai seems like some sort of science-fiction utopia. It emerged from the Middle East's desert seemingly overnight with some of the largest buildings in the world and it has police supercars patrolling the streets. It's not all perfect, of course, and like many cities, it's facing a mushrooming traffic issue. But officials may not deal with this growing congestion problem in a traditional way: the emirate is reportedly considering banning the poor from owning cars.
Hussain Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, reportedly suggested during a recent business forum in Germany that the emirate could impose motoring restrictions based on income. According to emirates-focused newspaper The National, "a salary limit scheme that would restrict car ownership to those earning above a certain monthly income" is among the options on the table. Lootah blames Dubai's rapid rise in wealth for clogging the emirate's roads with cars and dramatically increasing rush-hour traffic. "Everybody has their luxury life, but the capacity of our roads cannot take all of these cars without ownership laws," he said in a speech.
Even if the salary-related restriction does not go into effect, Dubai authorities are committed to reducing traffic congestion. They are also considering an increase on parking fees, fuel prices, toll road fees and insurance rates to further limit car ownership. As an alternative to driving, Dubai is attempting to improve its public transport system with a new tram system that began testing this week.