Dubai: New Salik toll gates to increase taxi fares, monthly household expenses

Employers must 'seriously consider' salary hikes to help residents meet increasing cost of living

by

Angel Tesorero

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Published: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 22 Jan 2024, 9:10 AM

Not only motorists or car owners are worried about the announcement of two new Salik gates coming soon in Dubai, taxi riders are also bracing for an increase in fares by November. Some residents, meanwhile, are suggesting to take forward discussions on salary increase to cope with expected additional expenses.

The Roads and Transport Authority announced on Friday the addition of two new toll gates – one located at Business Bay Crossing on Al Khail Road, and the other one at Al Safa South on Sheikh Zayed Road between Al Meydan Street and Umm Al Sheif Street.

Every time a taxi passes under a Salik gate, Dh4 is added in the final fare. The policy to automatically include Salik tolls in the taxi fare has been existing since 2013. Dubai residents like Mario Gonsalves are aware of this – and for him, this means additional Dh8 in his commute along Al Khail Road to and from work daily. This will translate to around Dh160 additional monthly expense starting November.

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The two upcoming Salik gates will bring the total number of toll gates to 10. The existing toll gates are in Al Barsha, Al Garhoud Bridge, Al Maktoum Bridge, Al Mamzar South, Al Mamzar North, Al Safa, Airport Tunnel, Jebel Ali.

Most number of toll gates

Sheikh Zayed Road, the city's main arterial highway, has the most number of toll gates.

Residents who live in Sharjah or Al Nahda and work in Jebel Ali have to pass through at least five toll-charging Salik gates, including Al Mamzar, Al Garhoud Bridge, Al Safa, Al Barsha and Jebel Ali, one way. And another five Salik gates on return. A motorist who takes this route, spends Dh40 daily on toll fees alone.

Those who take this route, however, will not worry about the new Salik in Al Safa. “Similar to Al Mamzar North and South, the upcoming Al Safa South will be linked with the existing Al Safa gate (Al Safa North), and motorists will be charged only once if they pass through the two gates within one hour in the same direction,” Salik Company PJSC (Salik), Dubai’s exclusive toll gate operator announced on Friday.

Affected residents

Motorists who are still enjoying the toll-free road between Al Meydan Street and Umm Al Sheif Street will be affected come November.

This is what Dubai resident, Muzaffar, is preparing. His Salik-free route via Business Bay Crossing along Al Khail Road from Al Nahda to Quoz will have soon have Dh8 extra cost daily. He is mulling taking alternative Dubai Creek crossings such as the Infinity Bridge and Al Shindagha Tunnel, but this will mean extra driving and more petrol cost, not to mention the additional time on the road.

“I will not lie if I say that the additional Dh160 toll charges will eat up on our monthly household budget. This extra expense is already equivalent to 10 bags of 5-kg rice at Dh15-16 per bag,” he said.

Conversation on salary increase

With the expected additional expense for residents, Filipino expatriate and social media influencer Ion Gonzaga told Khaleej Times “it’s about time conversation on salary increase be taken seriously to adapt to the increasing cost of living.”

Ion Gonzaga
Ion Gonzaga

“The announcement of new Salik gates comes on the heels of rent renewals for many residents. Rents are going up and so are prices of some basic commodities. As someone who works from home, this (new Salik) has no direct impact on my day to day life, but I feel for those who travel from home to work or school every day,” he noted.

Salik-free window

Other residents, meanwhile, are suggesting Salik-free window. “Salik should be made at least free after 11pm until 6am the following day; and also on weekends, when traffic is not heavy,” suggested Zahid Afridi and Sagar Ahmad, who also asked when Floating Bridge (which is free of charge) will become operational again.

“Companies can also consider giving employees more remote working days to somehow lessen the impact of going to work,” added Gonzaga.

Financial consultant Susan Francisco
Financial consultant Susan Francisco

Financial consultant Susan Francisco, meanwhile, gave advice to find ways to manage expenses. “We’ve been given fair warning and ample time to prepare for new toll fees, so, maybe we can think of ways to cut on some unnecessary things to compensate for the extra expenses. Motorists, who are oftentimes alone in their cars, can also consider taking public transport and save some money,” she added.

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