For whom the Salik gates toll
The RTA introduces two more Salik gates to ease Dubai's congested roads. Time to pay up, or find another route?
April 15, 2013 2:31 by Muhammad Aldalou
When we found out that the new Salik toll gates – one on Beirut Street by the Airport tunnel and the other on either side of Al Mamzar bridge – would soon be operational, we joined half the city in a collective sigh.
We have been avoiding Dubai’s toll gates for years and the two new additions mean we now have six of them to negotiate.
It doesn’t matter that the RTA – once again – has done this to cut congestion on the roads. All that matters is cost. A decision has to be made; do we drive through the gates and pay the four, eight or 16 dirhams a day, or do we find an alternative route?
RTA’s chairman, Mattar Al Tayer, says that reducing road congestion is just one piece of the puzzle. There’s a bigger scheme behind it. “People will be more encouraged to use public transport and, accordingly, contribute to realising RTA’s strategic objective of raising the number of trips made by public transport to 20 per cent by 2020,” he said.
He adds that he expects approximately 1,500 vehicles to be diverted from Al Ittihad and Beirut Roads to the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Bypass Road.
Today, Emirates247 reports of several commuters ‘ecstatic and beaming with joy over the unusual smooth flow of traffic,’ and the general sentiment is that they’re more than happy to pay the additional charges if it means an end to congestion. “If traffic in airport tunnel flows like today, it’s worth paying Salik,” Harsha Sripad tweets.
Conversely, if you quickly browse through the public feedback on social forums – and the word Salik has been conveniently trending on Twitter in the UAE – you’ll see that satisfied motorists are only one side of the story. There are many more that report the lack of effect the toll gates have had and, more particularly, motorists’ unwillingness to dish out their money using them.
Will you pay more if it means a congestion-free journey to work or map out some new co-ordinates? Let us know. . .