New Salik gates in Dubai: 'I'd need to pay Dh300 extra per month to avoid traffic'

Residents worried about extra cost, but hopeful new toll gates will help ease traffic

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Fri 19 Jan 2024, 7:06 PM

Last updated: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 4:26 PM

Dubai residents woke up on Friday to the news of two new Salik gates being added to emirate’s roads. While they mostly reacted with shock and concern, others said they will be willing to pay extra passing toll gates as long as they arrive at their destination on time.

Salik Company, Dubai’s exclusive toll gate operator, announced that one gate would be located at Business Bay Crossing on Al Khail Road, and another at Al Safa South on Sheikh Zayed Road between Al Meydan Street and Umm Al Sheif Street.

German expat Maheen Hussainy uses that stretch of Sheikh Zayed Road, where the new Salik gate will be located, every day while returning from school run. “I take this route most of the time, because I can avoid the traffic on Al Wasl road and Jumeirah road without having to pay Salik,” she told the Khaleej Times. “With the introduction of this gate, I expect the traffic on both these roads to increase significantly. So I will have to take the Salik so as not to sit in traffic endlessly.”

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She said that she was expecting her monthly expenditure to go up because of this. “Considering how I will have to use this stretch quite often, I am expecting to spend at least Dh300 more on Salik,” she said.

German expat Maheen Hussainy. Photo: Supplied
German expat Maheen Hussainy. Photo: Supplied

“It is not ideal but it is what is. I might explore options of getting my sons to take public transport or maybe even use a cycle to return from school in the future.”

According to Salik, the two locations have been selected based on extensive traffic movement studies by the RTA. Their objective is to manage traffic distribution and reduce congestion by rerouting some traffic to alternative routes with greater capacity, facilitating smoother and more efficient travel for all motorists in Dubai.

High costs

Indian expat Shiyaz Iqbal said he was disappointed with the news of the new Salik gates. “I live in Qusais and work in Bur Dubai,” he said. “I usually avoid Salik by taking the Infinity bridge. However, on days when I am late, I take the Airport Tunnel. Now, I will have to pay two tolls just to get on to Al Khail road and that is definitely a little frustrating when other costs like rents are also increasing. Also, ever since the floating bridge closed, the traffic at Infinity has increased exponentially. One day, it took me two hours just to get from Bur Dubai to the waterfront market area.”

Indian expat Shiyaz Iqbal. Photo: Supplied
Indian expat Shiyaz Iqbal. Photo: Supplied

A sales executive, Shiyaz said he tries to avoid tolls whenever possible. “When I have to go meet clients in DIP or Jebel Ali, I usually take Sheikh Zayed Road and exit onto Al Khail road from the first interchange,” he said. “However, now I am sure traffic on that exit will also increase with the introduction of an extra Salik.”

Shiyaz said the news had brought some level of cheer to his brother. “He invested Dh5,000 in the Salik shares so he is expecting a spike in share values,” he said. “However, he now has to take two extra toll gates when going from home to work, so it is kind of a double-edged sword for him.”

On social media, several users expressed frustration about increasing costs. Some suggested allowing toll-free windows during off-peak hours. Facebook user Zahid Afridi wrote: “If they are talking about traffic, then Salik should be free after 11pm till 6am and also on weekend.”

Expecting smoother traffic flow

For Iranian expat Hanan, the move does not make a huge difference on a daily basis. “I live in JVC and drive to Dubai Media City for work every day,” she said. “So neither of the two gates come on my everyday route. However, I think it is a welcome move because it will reduce congestion on Sheikh Zayed Road. For those who have urgent matters to attend to and need to get somewhere in a hurry, this will definitely be helpful as they will have a smooth flow of traffic.”

Iranian expat Hanan. Photo: Supplied
Iranian expat Hanan. Photo: Supplied

The RTA expects the Business Bay Crossing gate to assist in improving traffic congestion by 12 to 15 per cent on Al Khail Road, reducing traffic volume by 10-16 per cent on Al Rabat Street, and redistributing traffic to Al Maktoum and Al Garhoud bridges and Ras Al Khor Street.

Similarly, Al Safa South is expected to reduce right-turn traffic volume from Sheikh Zayed Road to Meydan Street by 15 per cent and optimise traffic flow on Financial Centre, First Al Khail, and Al Asayel streets.

Dr. Manzura Keldiyorova, who works as a general practitioner at Aster Clinic in Business Bay said currently she spends around Dh200 every month on Salik. “I will not need to take the new Salik gates for work because I live in Jumeirah,” she said. “However, I will need to use it when I drop my three children off for their various activities.”

Dr. Manzura Keldiyorova. Photo: Supplied
Dr. Manzura Keldiyorova. Photo: Supplied

The Uzbek national said she doesn’t mind paying the extra money if it gets her to the places she needs to go to on time. “I often take my children for tuitions, where it is important to reach and leave on time,” she said. “Nowadays traffic has increased so much that I will be happy to pay the extra to make sure I get there on time.”

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