EghtesadOnline: On the occasion of the world car-free days, municipalities in Iran are holding nationwide events from Sept. 20-22 to underscore the necessity of protecting the environment and promoting the culture of using public transportation, especially in major cities.
Marzieh Hesari, director of Public Transport and Traffic Office at Iran’s Municipalities and Village Administrators Organization, told ISNA that urban managers across the country are organizing public events such as biking and mini marathons.
"A set of instruction was prepared and communicated to municipalities across the country to hold such events simultaneously in a number of cities," Financial Tribune quoted Hesari as saying.
“Such events are currently underway in numerous cities, including Tehran, Tabriz, Shiraz, Ardabil, Arak, Gorgan, Yazd, Bojnord and Sirjan.”
In addition to these events, to encourage the general public not to use their passenger cars during the occasion, municipalities offer discounts on the fares of public transportation, including buses and subway.
World Car-Free Day, which is being celebrated on Sept. 22, encourages motorists not to use their cars for a day. The day is marked in many cities worldwide.
The events, which vary by location, give motorists and commuters an idea of their locality with fewer cars.
In Iran, there is a similar locally-initiated campaign called "Car-Free Tuesdays" that pursues the same goals.
The Car-Free Tuesdays campaign was launched in December 2015 by environmentalists in Arak, Markazi Province, to raise awareness about the role of general public in reducing both air pollution and traffic congestion.
The campaign aims to encourage people to ditch their cars in favor of cleaner modes of transportation for at least one day a week.
Since then, various cities in every province have adopted the campaign, with varying levels of success.
Since two years ago, various initiatives have been launched to promote biking in Iran’s major cities.
To encourage bicycling as a mode of transportation in Tehran, Mashhad and Yazd, a project was launched to set up bike lending centers and provide bicycles in educational centers and travel zones.
In Tehran, 50 terminals were set up across the city, mostly in crowded downtown areas and near subway stations and tourist sites, to offer a total of 7,000 gearless bicycles. The terminals are still situated at several main city squares, including Tohid, Enqelab and Azadi.
In addition, TM launched four bike lanes in the capital's districts 6 and 7, along Taleqani, Karimkhan, Iranshahr and Mofatteh streets in the center of the city.