Salik move draws flak


By Matovu A. Twaha

THE idea advanced by the transportation authorities in Dubai to add two more toll gates also known as Salik on Al Ittihad Road and in Al Qusais, both directions heading to Sharjah, has drawn much flak from everybody The Gulf Today talked to.

SalikOn Al Ittihad Road, the location has been identified near Dubai Police headquarters, leaving only one escape route for a Sharjah-bound motorist.

Press reports on Monday quoted a senior official at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) saying, “The locations to have two more Salik gates have been finalised following a comprehensive study of road and traffic movement in Dubai.”

Kenzi Khalid, a resident of Sharjah, but working in Dubai simply said “It is too much. It will impact hugely on our pockets.”

The arrangement of Salik was implemented in Dubai in 2007, with the main aim of easing traffic flow. While the RTA has praised the results of the initiative, some areas have been choked with traffic congestion continuously by those trying to dodge Salik routes.

“The congestion will more likely choke Emirates Road most of the time, throughout the day,” opined Khalid.

If the two are added, the number of gates will swell to six. Currently, there are four tollgates – at Al Barsha near The Mall of Emirates along Sheikh Zayed Road, and at the bridges of Al Safa Park, Al Garhoud and Al Maktoum.

Juma Ali of Al Nahda in Sharjah called it “another burden. Though my job requires use of private car, I think I will have no choice but leave it at home!”

Some other people residing in either of the two neighbouring Emirates (Sharjah and Dubai) but working in the other talked of shifting altogether.

“It will no longer be cost-effective to stay in Sharjah while commuting to work in Dubai. I will most likely shift to Dubai,” said Alex Salongo of Al Khan in Sharjah.

At Dhs4 charged per pass, a motorist from Sharjah working, say, in Dubai’s Al Qouz Industrial Area stands to have Dhs16 charged off him daily, with a bad chance of hitting the maximum Dhs24 charged daily.

“Please, have mercy on us,” one motorist cried. “It is my prayer the RTA does have humane consideration of our plight.”

A Senior Marketing Official at the RTA did not answer the phone to comment on this development, but the organisation is not known for leaking information on a plan that will lay unimplemented.

Jima N. a resident of Dubai but working in Sharjah said “I’m already paying enough of Salik. It will be very bad if any more gate is added. It costs me about Dhs500 per month.”

The RTA corridors have however hinted that the final decision has not yet been taken.