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

Abu Dhabi: Motorists in the capital have begun to sign up so that they can pay road tolls online.

Speaking to Gulf News, many vehicle owners said they had recently received SMS messages with their sign up details from the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT), and had found the registration process fairly easy.

“I got an SMS last night from DoT-SMS with my username and password for the toll payment account, so I decided to register myself right away,” said M.F., a 35-year-old project engineer from Sri Lanka, told Gulf News.

“It took me a few minutes, but I was able to register my car by logging on from my smartphone,” M.F. said. The engineer added that he will cross a tolling point twice every day on his way to and from work.

Toll-free until January 2020

The capital’s road toll system became operational on October 15, but transport sector regulator, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), announced on October 13 a toll-free period extending until January 1, 2020. The announcement came as a relief to motorists in Abu Dhabi, with many saying at the time that they had been unable to sign up on the toll payment portal:

In order to sign up, Abu Dhabi motorists must first receive an account username and password by SMS.

‘Unable to top up’

Social media discussion groups have also begun buzzing, with many residents reporting that they have already created accounts after receiving SMS messages. A number of Facebook users have however pointed out that they have been unable to recharge their payment accounts, even though they’ve managed to sign up.

M.F. said he faced the same issue.

“I was able to log on, and even change my username and password. But I wasn’t able to access the option that would have allowed me to top up. I will try again before January 2020,” he said.

Still others are waiting to receive their sign-up details by SMS.

“I still haven’t got my sign-up details, so I am glad that the tolls are not being charged yet,” said Mohammad Q, an Asian business owner and long-term resident said. He added that he plans to register just as soon as he receives the SMS because his work means he often crosses the four tolling points in Abu Dhabi.

Applying for toll exemptions

Another resident, S.P., said he wanted more information on how to apply for the toll exemptions.

“I have a child with special needs, and would therefore qualify for an exemption. But I don’t yet know how to apply for it,” he said.

According to the ITC, senior residents, retired personnel, people with special needs, family members of the martyred, and low income earners will be exempt from the toll. But the regulator is yet to announce how people can apply for these exemptions.

Road toll system

The transport sector regulator has reiterated that the upcoming toll system is aimed at reducing congestion in the capital. There will be four tolling points, one each on Shaikh Zayed Bridge, Shaikh Khalifa Bridge, Al Maqtaa Bridge and Al Khaleej Al Arabi Road.

When operational, motorists will have to pay Dh2 for crossing a tolling point once during non-peak hours, and Dh4 for crossing once during the designated peak hours. There will also be a daily maximum toll amount of Dh16 per vehicle.