The decision by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to abolish the daily Salik cap of Dh24 or six trips has certainly raised a few eyebrows, to say the least. Currently, motorists are charged for only six Salik trips per day, irrespective of how many more trips they make. Now a motorist will be charged every time he passes through a Salik gate without any limit.
Salik, introduced in 2007, with the aim of reducing traffic on city roads by offering alternative free highways, has significantly improved traffic, reduced congestion and brought in revenue necessary to upgrade the roads network and modernise the emirate’s transport network with the introduction of such state-of-the-art system as the Metro, the monorail and water taxi.
It is the right of RTA to collect such revenue, which has been used to make the life of citizens and residents better. The benefits of the RTA plans are there for everybody to see and they are in line with the best international practices. However, those who question the latest decision would like to see some kind of concessions by the RTA, similar to the experiences of other developed countries. Some of those waive toll gate charges at night or on weekends when traffic is significantly lighter for example. There are other steps we are confident that the RTA can think of to reduce the financial burden on motorists.
Also, the RTA may need to remind sceptics of its core strategy — a main part of which is making public transport an attractive option to residents.