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Thank you for the New Year’s gift RTA

Dubai Taxis in traffic

If I am being taxed I'd rather know about it or does 'ignorance is bliss' fit into this context?

December 4, 2012 10:28 by

This morning, according to Gulf News’ reporting, the RTA has given Dubai’s taxi users yet another reason to be disgruntled as the New Year rolls in. If you remember a time when you had to put up with paying the Salik Toll fee on your daily commute then you were a 2007 user. If you’ve arrived here afterwards then it won’t necessarily matter but you still have the right to know.

As of January 1st, the rule that was introduced and then scrapped will be reinstated once again; to the displeasure of many Dubai residents that rely heavily on taxi transportation. Judging by the buzzing Twitter feed this morning, tweets ranged from tasteful puns to plain old ‘what the hecks’.

‘Not Again!’, ‘Taxis just got REAL expensive’, ‘as a daily Dubai taxi user, I am so disappointed’ and ‘nooo, that’s not fare’ are some of our favourites.

According to the RTA, the payment scheme was discontinued in December 2008 after receiving what they described as ‘numerous complaints from customers who felt cheated’.  “Cab drivers had to manually add the Dh4 toll on the fare and this made tourists think they were being cheated. This time, the meters will automatically add the toll,” an official at the RTA said.

This official quote truly baffles Kipp. For one, we hardly believe that tourists were complaining because the fare was added manually but that it was added at all. Yes, road tolls are not unfamiliar to most expatriates but for them, the emirate is a representation of a ‘tax-free’ land. The only difference with the Dh4 toll being added automatically is that most tourists will remain unaware that it was added and will assume it was merely part of the overall fare.

Personally, if I am going to be taxed, I’d rather know about it and see it done manually but maybe that’s just Kipp. Secondly, the RTA mentions no other reason why they are bringing the Salik toll back, except why it was discontinued earlier. Are you telling me that they needed four years to automate the system or is it as one intelligent Tweeter noted today (won’t mention who); just another way to fund real estate projects?

In either case, thank you for the New Year’s gift RTA!

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  1. Werner on December 4, 2012 10:49 am

    BTW Kipp, isn’t the RTA doing this to help alleviate traffic from Sheikih Zayed Road by forcing taxi passengers to use the upgraded Al Khail Road, which doesn’t have Salik. Cause I believe the availability of a convenient alternative to Sheikh Zayed Road was also previously a factor in exempting taxis from Salik.

  2. M. Aldalou on December 4, 2012 10:50 am

    Werner thanks for reading and that’s a good point yes. It still though doesn’t explain why they discontinued it for 4 years and are now putting back on.

  3. ZeTallGerman on December 4, 2012 11:11 am

    The Salik system here is not in place to reduce traffic, it’s simply to make money. Road toll schemes in other countries exist to control traffic flow AT CERTAIN TIMES on certain days, and not every single day – all day long. Ah well… I know why the RTA is re-introducing this. Or does anyone think this is a coincidence, 2 weeks after the mega projects announcements? And just 2 days after the announcement that the government will pay Dhs 410 mio to clear debt by Emiratis? The money has to come from somewhere…

  4. M. Aldalou on December 4, 2012 11:12 am

    I always thoroughly enjoy the comments and opinions of ZeTallGerman :) Keep them coming.

  5. HAW on December 5, 2012 12:48 pm

    I agree with ZeTallGerman, another funding scheme required to fund their huge dreams and aspirations. For someone who was born in Dubai, raised in Dubai(my home country is UAE and not the passport I hold) really have seen drastic changes. I just miss the old Dubai.

    It seems like whatever the people will say and do, nothing is going to happen.


  6. MK on December 5, 2012 1:07 pm

    I also agree with ZeTallGerman…it’s a business oriented approach not customer satisfaction to alleviate traffic!
    Very very stupid indeed!

  7. OMar Khan on December 5, 2012 2:54 pm

    There is a lot of pristine infrastructure, maintenance, and support being invested in Dubai. It all costs money, and it helps your business and you personally to financially grow.

    The reality is that there has always been change, and there was no promise of things not changing.

    In terms of Fees vs Taxes
    Dubai’s system is for the most part transparent. You use it, you pay for it.

    Its a more of a free market system, which is based supply and demand. Furthermore, the other readers were right in pointing out the alternatives routes.

    As for “Why not 4 years ago?”, who knows? Maybe they thought 2008 was the height of the crisis, may there was another reason.
    Its important to accept the fact that they can.

    Remember, taxi-companies can eventually bare the costs, and then increase rates once they got the approval. I would rather a transparent system.

    Furthermore, many people can argue for example, that a car use to costs XYZ 20 years ago. Aside from inflation, cars have so many more features (ABS, traction control, airbags, air-conditioned seats, GPS, MP3, TVs, Better warranties,more comforts, etc etc).

    Remember, Dubai Government has invested over AED40 billion upto 2020. Who in this day and age invests such a big amount, and for long-term returns. No many!

    I’ll give you an example. People argue over this “knowledge fee”. But think about. For example, just for your speeding violations.

    Radar systems for speeding violations have to be developed, setup, and maintained all over the place. They must have connectivity. They record pictures that get uploaded to the system.

    This system sends SMS or email alerts to Dubai drivers when they get fined for speeding. These systems need web developers to to have website that users can go to and check on their fines. Dubai Police even links to other emirates, and to many internet banking platforms for real-time information. User can access pictures of their violations, and they can also pay in various ways.

    Is there value addition? Off course? Is there such a thing as a free lunch? No, not in Dubai, and rightfully so.

    Thanks Kipp. Love the fact that you do not filter comments, unlike other news sites.
    I also love the fact that people can debate issues freely, yet respectfully.

  8. M. Aldalou on December 5, 2012 3:37 pm

    Thank YOU Omar for your very insightful feedback. And yes of course we have no intention of filtering any comments, we want people to say whatever they want – as long as there’s no profanity of course. Debating issues is what develops this world, not hiding them.


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