Dubai: The daily Salik cap of Dh24 or six trips, which has been in place since the introduction of the toll system in Dubai in 2007, will be abolished with effect from July 15, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Sunday.
The decision means motorists who use Salik more than six times per day, will be charged for all their trips, unlike now.
Currently, motorists are charged for only six Salik trips per day irrespective of how many more trips they make. Now a motorist will charged every time he passes through a Salik gate without any limit.
The Salik toll system was first introduce with two gates – Al Garhoud and Al Barsha – in 2007, with additions on Al Maktoum Bridge and Al Safa in 2008, while two more gates were added at Al Mamzar and Airport Tunnel in April this year.
Coming close on the heels of launching two additional Salik gates in April – Al Mamzar and Airport Tunnel - the decision is likely to impact thousands of motorists who regularly use Salik to avoid traffic congestion on other roads.
However, an RTA official insists the decision impacts only a handful of motorists and around 95 per cent of motorists don’t use the maximum Salik limit. But motorists think otherwise.
“It is a shocking decision. How can they say many people are not affected? The decision is likely to make life difficult for me as my job involves delivering couriers and it requires me passing through Salik several times. My company is paying the maximum daily amount of Dh24 and I am not sure they would like to pay more,” said a delivery boy who works with a leading logistics firm.
Every passage through a Salik toll gate costs Dh4.
A senior RTA official said that the discount on the twin trips on Barsha and Safa toll gates will not be changed. “The trips through Barshah and Safa toll gates will continue to be counted as one and the decision to remove the maximum cap on daily Salik charges won’t affect the discount,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
Motorists claim that with six toll gates in place across different areas in Dubai, there are more chances now of people making more than six trips per day and RTA is trying to exploit the situation.
“The RTA is not missing any opportunity to fleece people and make more money. If only five per cent of people took advantage of the cap then why bother, let them use it. I don’t understand how this decision will help improve traffic, it is absurd,” said, Mohammad Sabir, a manager of a passenger transport firm, which owns a big fleet of vehicles.
He added that each of his vehicles makes more than a dozen trips daily, picking up people from their residences and workplaces.
“Each one of us, from the drivers and passengers to the employers, will be affected. We have to decide to either use Salik and charge our customers more or not use Salik and make our customers suffer by taking congested alternative routes,” added Sabir.
Like Sabir, many more Dubai residents questioned the Authoirty’s intention in expanding the network of Salik.
With all Salik gates except Al Maktoum bridge charging toll even at night despite sparse movement of vehicles, along with the introduction of new Salik gates, people suspect that there is more to the network of Salik gates than just traffic management.
“With every passing day it is getting difficult to buy RTA’s ruse that Salik helps reduce traffic. It is obvious that they are trying to create more opportunities of making money,” said another resident, who did not wish to reveal his name.
Salik at a glance
Salik: A road toll system introduced to ease traffic in 2007
Number of Salik gates: Six
Phase 1: 2007 - Al Barsha, Al Garhoud Bridge
Phase 2: 2008 - Al Safa, Al Maktoum Bridge
Phase 3: 2013 - Al Mamzar, Airport Tunnel
Tariff: Dh4 per trip
Cost: Dh100 per tag including Dh60 Salik balance
Salik tag: Built using an advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The tags are powered by transceivers in the toll gates and operate without batteries. The transponder on the tag helps store and retrieve data remotely
Dh50 - For passing through Salik gate without sufficient funds
Dh100 - For passing through Salik gate without a tag
Dh10 - Delay in paying fines per month.
Top-up: Salik account can be topped up through phone banking services, recharge cards or through SMS