Two new Salik gates starting operating last Monday, raising the number of Salik toll gates from four to six. One at Al Ittihad road near the Dubai/Sharjah border and another just before the airport tunnel.
The Al Ittihad Road, part of which connects Dubai and Sharjah has this popularly notorious traffic as so many people who work in Dubai still lives in Sharjah due to cheaper rents. This road looks like a huge parking area during rush hours in the morning and evening. It is estimated that 260,000 vehicles pass by Al Ittihad Road everyday.
Salik, meaning open or clear, is Dubai’s free flow tolling system that operates without toll booths, barriers, or gates, allowing traffic to move freely through tolling point at highway speeds. Salik was first launched in July 2007.
How does Salik work?
Motorists with electronic Salik car tags will be automatically charged Dh4 (US$1.08) each time they pass through the gates, with an upper limit of Dh24 (US$6.5) a day regardless of the number of trips.
The toll gates is aimed to reduce congestion. But I have a problem with this ‘aim’ or ‘claim’ that the New Salik has made a difference in the traffic flow. Some motorists gushing, “Salik made my commute to work easier and faster!”
Dude, someone, somewhere a motorist driving on the alternative route is cursing the heavier than usual traffic in his side of town! Motorists avoiding to pay tolls have ‘invaded’ the other routes.
I don’t know why it has been pointed out that the reason of installing these toll gates was to ‘reduce traffic’ on that road where Salik is installed.
My analogy of Salik is a fat person wearing a tight belt. Wait, hear me out on this. I’m just better at this kind of analogy.
So ok, here goes: There’s this fat person who’s tired of looking at his expanding waistline, wants to look a bit sexy so he wears a belt and tightens it. The area around that waistline has narrowed down a bit, pleasing the fat person.
All the fat still exists…and where do these lumps of fat go? It spills out all over the place!
Instead of finding solace in the belt, the fat person should just wear bigger trousers!
fat person = road
expanding waistline = traffic/congestion
belt = Salik
narrowed waistline = reduced traffic
lumps of fat spilling all over the place = motorists avoiding toll gates clogging up the alternative (free) routes!
bigger trousers = additional roads
In short, it is NOT a permanent solution to congestion. It’s easy to assume the real purpose of installing these toll gates in our roads but I’ll leave the guess work to you.
But really, these 260,000 vehicles can’t go on clogging other routes (mine!! the first day of Salik operation near my area was hell) and go to work late so it’s either pay up or install wings on your car.
UPDATE: I went home at noon today to find the usual congestion at Al Ittihad road going to Sharjah.