Dubai

I only had an eleven hour layover in Dubai, but I was intent on seeing as much of this urban spectacle as I could. I was able to take advantage of the Emirates stopover program (something convenient the government can do when it owns the airline, airport, hotel, public transit system, etc.). I rode the sleek, automated Dubai Metro from the Airport to Union Station and was able to see with my own eyes the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

The lack of pedestrian accessibility was striking. Walking the quarter-mile between the airport terminal and my hotel was absolutely impossible owing to the labyrinth of highways and ramps separating the two; instead, a looping, roundabout fifteen minute drive was required. I enjoyed this ride, as it took my by the Roads and Transport Agency headquarters and one of the emirate’s many school buses. With such poor pedestrian accessibility, it’s no surprise that the majority of Dubai’s students take the bus to school:

According to the Ministry of Education, approximately 62 per cent of students in Dubai travel to school by bus – which means every day, there are around 250,000 students on the roads during peak times. – From “School bus news in Dubai, “which has an interesting discussion about school bus safety regulations

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