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The Al Maqta Bridge Toll Gate, Abu Dhabi. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: Road tolls in the capital will become operational on October 15, but charges will be levied only from January 1, 2020, the Integrated Transport Centre announced yesterday.

The period from October 15 till January 1 will only be used to test the system, the transport sector regulator said in a statement.

The statement said five categories of people will be exempted from the road tolls. They include the elderly, retired personnel, family of the martyred, people opf determination and families with limited income

Previously, the ITC had only specified categories of vehicles exempted from the tolls. However, the regulator has not yet announced the procedures by which motorists who fit the exemption categories can apply for the exemption.

The change in date for toll collection is expected to give motorists time to register on the system, and transport authorities a chance to test its robustness of the system. Families and commuters will also have an opportunity to look for public transport options, or make decisions to limit or regulate their travel, the ITC said.

There will also be a monthly limit for road toll payments per vehicle. For the first vehicle registered, the maximum payment per month has been set at Dh200. The second registered vehicle can be tolled a maximum of Dh150 a month, and all other vehicles will have to pay a maximum monthly amount of Dh100.

The daily maximum still remains Dh16 per vehicle.

The road tolls were first announced in late July 2019, with October 15 specified as the date from which tolls would be collected. A toll payment website was set up by August, but as Gulf News reported, motorists have struggled to register their vehicles in the system. Those with Abu Dhabi registered vehicles have also said that they haven’t received SMS with login details.

Meanwhile, four toll gates have already been constructed across the capital. As announced, there is one toll gate each on Al Maqtaa Bridge, Shaikh Zayed Bridge and Shaikh Khalifa Bridge. The location of the fourth toll gate was moved from Mussaffah Bridge to further down Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street.

Sunday’s ITC statement reiterates that the aim of the toll gate system is not to collect charged but to prevent congestion in the capital. As transport officials announced in June, the anti-congestion system mirrors that of other cosmopolitan cities like London and Stockholm.

User accounts

User accounts will be created automatically for Abu Dhabi-registered vehicles, and sign-up details will be sent by SMS to motorists.

When payment becomes effective, they will have to create a user account by navigating to itps.itc.gov.ae, or by clicking on the Abu Dhabi Toll Gate System link on the left dashboard of dot.gov.abudhabi. For vehicles registered outside Abu Dhabi, owners must create an account by navigating to the dedicated website, and provide Emirates ID details, license plate details, email and mobile number. They then have to make the payment to register the vehicle. The minimum payment is Dh100 per vehicle, but Dh50 will be credited back to the user account after registration is completed. Then, they can top up the account and the toll will be deducted automatically every time they pass a tolling point in the New Year.