Naxxar and Dingli are the only two localities taking part in World Dar-Free day, marking a seven-year low in the number of councils taking part in the initiative. 

Between 2016 and 2021 an average of seven localities participated in the initiative, according to the European Mobility Week website with the lowest number in 2018 when five localities took part.

In 2015 only one council joined the scheme.  

Daniel Vella, president of cycling NGO Rota said: “Many localities have let the opportunity pass that World Car Free Day brings, as our car-dependent culture keeps reinforcing itself".

In Dingli, roads next to the Dingli Swallows football ground will be closed all day, with small-sided games played in closed streets. In Naxxar the church square will not be accessible to cars for an hour from 7am to 8pm. 

Naxxar Mayor Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami said: “We need to reduce traffic, have sustainable transport, and encourage people to walk when they need to travel short distances. "

A lot of traffic passes through Naxxar on the way to other places, increasing pollution in the locality without any gains, she said.   

Meanwhile, commuters passing through the Marsa Junction were left frustrated as two minor collisions led to heavier traffic than usual. 

World Car Free Day encourages motorists to give up their cars for the day.

Local councils can tap into event funding for European Mobility Week, culminating on World Car Free Day. Localities can get an EU co-funded grant of €1,500 for organising a car-free day or a €2,500 grant for running a series of activities held between September 16 and 22.  

A €200,000 Transport Malta grant allows local councils to apply for a maximum of €20,000 to implement projects related to sustainable mobility in their locality

E-scooter company, Bolt also offered a free two-hour on e-scooters today between 7 am and 9 am. E-scooters will also be free to use between 5 pm and 7 pm later today, a spokesperson for the company said. 

In a statement, ADPD noted a lack of commitment by the government to implement a serious policy to give roads back to the people, making them more secure and pushing clean and sustainable mobility.

 

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