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.

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Blogger Seabee said...

Heads roll at the RTA.
Fingers crossed for that! But it's way, way overdue.

12:35 pm  
Blogger Peter H said...

Dubai is not alone in this type of is all in the name of work creation I am sure.

Read a few more entries........quite entertaining. Was looking for a few insights into Dubai, as thinking about business expansion into the region. Need real world background, not the coloured glossies!!

5:26 am  
Blogger CG said...

you are doing the right thing by leaving. I hope 200,000 follow you.
I also hope that Maitha gets fired.
I also hope that I can get to Jumeirah in under 3 hours in the morning.

I need to do a whole lot of wishing.

6:38 pm  
Blogger Curlytop said...

I certainly feel the irritation levels acculmulating with this place. We all live here and people from the outside looking will all think "Sheez, what a bunch on whingers", but the sad fact is, we DO live here and that does give us the right to bitch!

I went to buy my Salik package yesterday; it's a case of if I don't get it done when the oppurtunity is present, I am such a bad procratinator, that it would October before I realised I have accumulated 4 squillion dirhams in fines.

I filled in the form, handed over my registration card (1 Dhs for a photocopy) and then presented my credit card for payment. "Oh no, Sir" the lady behind the counter declared, "We only accpet cash for Salik." To which I stopped, turned a full 360 degress, looked up and down and politely said (to the whole shop) "Has anybody seen the sign that says "Only Cash" for Salik registrations?"

The lady behind the counter got very flustered when I produced a credit card, a debit card (which is EXACTLY like cash!!) and International Gold Debit card, and then proclaimed one of these will have to work as I don't have any cash on me. The collective cork had now officially tumbled from it's mounting and all I see is a very confused smile and the casting of her eyes ANYWHERE but look in my direction.

After a few anxious moments, I produced the cash that I indeed did have and paid for the goods. I told the young lady the best thing she could do was get an ordinary pen and paper and write out a simple notice and stick it to the counter, so that people are aware BEFORE they fill in the form, hand over details and get frustrated and angry due to sheer ineptness of the whole scheme. Better yet, have the "esteemed" store manager get a nice sign written in Magic Marker and then laminated, so it is clear and concise for all to see.

Oh yeah, that would require forethought, wouldn't it...

Hope this helps with whoever else HAS to get sucked in by this "scheme".

9:38 am  
Blogger bonk said...

Curlytop: That sounds fairly typical for Dubai. The Salik road toll has become the hottest topic of conversation in Dubai. What are we going to talk about when it crashes, or when people get used to it?

9:45 am  
Blogger Shanavas said...

Hi All

How do you think Salik will trace out the Car that crosses without the tag?

I haven't seen any cameras fitted on to the toll centre and even if they do, it cannot track the regn number with the top view photograph of a vehicle.

I myself bought Salik tag long back. Still not clear on many things.

12:14 pm  
Blogger dil said...

well here is a fact that will shake you up.
i have done it with my car and got away with it, it actually day 5 of it...

i crossed the salik gate on 3rd aug
and found out that it never actually fines u...
since the gate can only detect the freq in it with the tag.. without the tag, the gate actually never gets activated.. the cameras behind do take videos as survillance, cause those models cannot take pix of high speed moving objects clearly to pixel. they are those normal cams that the cops use as surv. on top of buildings.

and have you ever heard the gov give you 2 days to get your fines rite. mate they would fine you and then ask you to sort it out...

7:47 am  

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