On the 5th of February, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed issued a new law regarding the installation of Salik tolls on Abu Dhabi roads to prevent traffic congestion, which has been on the rise lately. No confirmed dates for the tolls has yet been decided.
The introduction of Salik in Dubai came about in the year 2007 and has since been considered the first of its kind in the Middle East. The concept of Salik ensures that drivers who pass beneath the gates pay 4Dhs through a sticker placed on their car’s windshield. Those who do not obtain a sticker or leave it uncharged are fined heavily.
Nasir Hakeem, a long-time resident of Dubai, described his take on this form of indirect tax, “ I remember 11 years ago when the law was issued I thought it was crazy as not only was I spending petrol money but also wasting money just to reach my destination, after all these years, even though I am still against it, I got accustomed to it, so I’m pretty sure the residents of Abu Dhabi will do too,” he said.
The Salik tolls did not only impact the drivers of Dubai but also, car rental firms owners who call it a “nightmare”. The owners lose a fortune since they bear the cost of tolls due to the decision of Dubai car rental group.
“I am really unhappy with the new law as my family home is in Abu Dhabi and I take the road every day from Dubai, so it will be like throwing money away,” said Sarah Mohamed, a student attending the American University in Dubai.
Though various people are against Salik tolls, there are others who have grown to accept it and acknowledge its positive impacts. This practice would cause less pollution as people would prefer not to use their car to travel, thus encouraging more use of public transport. Moreover, that will also motivate some to do more exercise like walking, which means less driving, and this fewer accidents
“Even though I was against the idea at first after I saw the changes it brought upon Dubai roads I am glad they enforced it, as it gave drivers the chance to rethink if they need to drive to a specific place or if they could just walk, cycle or ride the metro,” stated Ramy Ali, a UAE resident.
Regardless of the fact that drivers in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are apprehensive about the idea of Salik toll gates, the government states that it’s for their own safety. A benefit of Salik is that it aids in reducing traffic around the city and makes drivers in Dubai take alternative roads, and it was stated that the decision for both states tolls was based on a research which was undertaken with international traffic management agencies.
As the undersecretary at the Department of transport stated in the Khaleej Times, “the plans aim to develop the transport system and local roads network to assure its sustainability and offer the best services to road users.”
With it or against it, the law has already been issued which means soon enough new toll gates will be introduced in Abu Dhabi and all people residing in the city will have to abide by the law as the alternative is more costly.