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Taxi users in Dubai to pay road toll

By Asma Ali Zain / 15 February 2007

DUBAI — Were you confused about who'll foot the road toll bill if you were travelling in a taxi? The taxi driver, or you? Well, the verdict is out — people using taxis will have to pay both the road toll and taxi fare, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officials said yesterday, while introducing ‘Salik’, the brand name for Dubai's forthcoming toll system.

The 24-hour toll system will be implemented in Dubai from July this year. While the pre-paid sticker tags worth Dh100, topped up with a minimum of Dh50, will be available in the market from May, an amount of Dh4 (for one way) will be automatically deducted as a car with the sticker passes under the electronic gates.

The stickers have no expiry date and are damaged if removed. SMS alerts will inform the users if the balance is low. Eng. Maitha Bin Adai, CEO of the RTA’s Roads and Traffic Agency, said during yesterday's Press conference that though other forms of public transport would be toll-free for travellers, including public and school buses, and emergency vehicles, taxi passengers would have to pay the toll.

'The taxi driver will, however, give option to the passenger on using alternative routes,' clarified Maitha.

To help tourists, giant screens will be placed on entry points, guiding them to buy the Salik sticker tags from petrol stations or shopping malls.

Initially, the electronic gates — work on which has started — will be installed on Al Garhoud Bridge (both sides) and after the fourth interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road (near Mall of the Emirates). However, motorists who do not wish to use the system, will have alternative routes to use after the RTA finishes the projects by the year-end.

Among the alternative routes is the floating bridge, to be ready by July 2007. It will have three lanes in each direction, linking Al Ittihad Road at Deira City Centre to the Al Riyadh Road in Bur Dubai (by the creek park). It is expected to reduce traffic on Al Maktoum Bridge by 37 per cent.

The Fourth Crossing, with six lanes in each direction, will connect the Dubai International Airport tunnel to Shaikh Rashid and Al Khail roads. The Dubai bypass road from Shaikh Zayed Road to Al Ruwwaya is being widened to five lanes on each side.

The widening of Al Garhoud Bridge and Emirates Road will be completed by the year-end.

Also, the Ittehad Road project will be completed in 22 months.

The official also clarified that motorists using the roads within the toll gates will not pay anythin

According to an RTA study, an estimated 8,000-10,000 motorists use each side of the Shaikh Zayed Road during peak hours, while nearly 9,000 vehicles cross the Al Garhoud Bridge every hour.

'We estimate that at least half of the registered cars in Dubai will use the system,' said the official.

“Dubai is losing over Dh4 billion in traffic jams and Dh2 million in accidents,' added Maitha.

She also said that the toll system was expected to reduce traffic on the road by 25 per cent.

Tariff for vehicles

Following is the tariff for different types of vehicles:

- Motorcycle: Dh4

- Light vehicle: Dh4

- Heavy vehicle:  Dh4

- Light bus:  Dh4

- Heavy bus:  Dh4

- Light/heavy mechanical vehicles:  Dh4

- Card and subscription fee:  Dh100

- Card replacement fee:  Dh50

- Card cancellation fee:  Dh10

- Transfer of card:  Dh50

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