Monday, May 21, 2007


Dubai's RTA (Roads & Transport Authority) has donated a new word to the English lexicon: Salik. It's Arabic for 'clear', English for 'illogical, unworkable, doomed to failure'.

Salik is the brand name given to the hugely unpopular Road Toll Scheme. It is due to start on 1st July (fortunately I'll be leaving a week later so I won't be affected by it unless my taxi to the Airport decides to use SZR). Motorists will be charged at only two points on Sheikh Zayed Road: Garhoud Bridge and Mall of the Emirates. Now, we all know that this is the busiest stretch of SZR, but you'll be able to enter and leave the road at any point between those mentioned and not pay a bean. The logic of this, well, it defies logic. Even more illogical is that it will cost every vehicle Dhs 4 to pass the charging points at any hour of the day or night.

There have already been public spats between Dubai police and the RTA about this, but the RTA are determined to go ahead with it. I wonder, will it be the RTA collecting fines from people who don't have the means to pay the toll? Or the Police?

Here's my prediction of what will happen.

Mid-June: Salik cards go on sale. Everyone who works for the RTA buys them. Nobody else does.

1 July: Salik is switched on. Massive fines are recorded for vehicles without Salik cards. Traffic increases on Jumeirah Road and Al Wasl Road, but it is not total gridlock because all the schools are on holiday and most drivers are away or not doing school runs.

September: schools re-open. Jumeirah Beach Road and Al Wasl Road and that road that goes from Port Rashid towards Garhoud are completely gridlocked. Some people have been stuck in their cars for three days.

Sheikh Mohammed instructs the RTA to shut down Salik. Suggests they call him back in a couple of years when the Metro is open, and RTA have figured out how to run a proper bus service.

Heads roll at the RTA.

Labels: , , ,