In July last year, Dubai introduced a new electronic toll system popularly known as Salik – which means “open” or “clear” in effort to curb heavy gridlocks in this rapidly growing city. Great use of technology, though – it is a free flow tolling system without toll gates, barriers or booths, no toll collectors and allows traffic to move freely through the tolling point at highway speeds by just sticking a piece of sticker in your windshield.
When I first heard it, I was impressed.
Currently, there are two tolling points in the city: one in the New Garhoud Bridge and the other at Sheikh Zayed Road near the Mall of the Emirates.
We only got our Salik tag last November because we are not using those Salik-ed roads that much. After submitting the application and putting the tag in our windshield, we would be given an SMS with our ID’s and passwords, as we were told.
It never came – if you have forgotten, it’s April now.
Initially, the tag had a balance of 50 dirhams and it would cost 4 dirhams each time the car passes a toll gate. From November last year until now, I swear we only passed the toll gates 5 times. That would mean we still have a balance of 30 dirhams but guess what?
Dubai surprised us again.
Since it has been months that I’ve been waiting for that confirmation SMS that didn’t come, I checked the Salik website which led me to a link that can check for violations.
We are fined for 100 dhs ($30) for passing a toll gate without sufficient balance on our Salik account TWICE!! Great technology yeah, they even got a picture of our small humble car passing through the toll gate with my clueless husband behind the wheel and me in the passenger seat!
If I had known, I should have flashed a smile.
How did it happen? I called and called the number attached to our tag and literary spent the whole day being told, “Please hold, your call is important to us.” BS.
I got hold of an operator and he told me, the whole mess (violation and the non-existent SMS confirmation) was because of a data entry mistake in their part. Now we have to go to the RTA office to file a claim to waive the violation – as if it will ever happen!
Turned out that we are not alone in this messy situation. Some residents are complaining about the same thing. It took time for me to realize that yes, the system is meant to clear the resident’s money not the traffic!