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Dubai wants to ban the poor from cars

A Bugatti Veyron doing duty as part of the Dubai Police fleet.

Dubai is well known for its supercars, with even the police having their own fleet, and the university student carpark being crammed with the likes of Bugatti Veyrons and Rolls-Royces.

And while those cars are the province of the wealthy in the booming economy, there's also increasing car ownership by the average less-monied residents -- and that means increasing traffic congestion.

But Dubai's civic leader has a novel suggestion for clearing the roads: limit car ownership to the wealthy. "Everybody has their luxury life, but the capacity of our roads cannot take all of these cars without ownership laws," Director general Hussain Lootah said in a conference address in Germany that was reported in Arab Emirates news site The National.

Lootah said one option to clear the roads would limit car ownership to those who had a monthly income above a certain level, yet to be decided. He added that car pooling would not work for the less wealthy, as the country had such a diverse population -- with more than 200 nationalities represented (many as indentured workers) -- so a public awareness program would be difficult.

He believes restricting the ownership of cars would encourage the less-wealthy to use public transport such as buses, taxis and a new tram system in the process of being rolled out.

This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott