By Dylan Bowman
Three-quarters of residents are against RTA expanding road toll, survey reveals.
Three-quarters of Dubai residents are against the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) expanding its unpopular Salik road toll to other parts of the city, the latest ArabianBusiness.com survey has revealed.
RTA Chairman Mattar Al Tayer revealed last week that the authority is conducting studies on future Salik schemes, and would not rule the introduction of more toll gates.
More than 40% of respondents to the poll said the RTA should not introduce new toll gates until there are alternatives for commuters such as the Dubai Metro, while 26.5% said the RTA should scrap expanding the scheme altogether, stating that as soon as there are alternatives traffic will ease.
Public transportation in Dubai is currently limited to buses, ferries and taxis.
Due to almost year-round high temperatures most people avoid using modes of transportation where they have to be out in the heat for long periods of time, such as having to walk to and wait at bus stops.
The RTA has been dogged by talk of a massive expansion to Salik ever since the scheme was launched in July last year.
Currently there are toll gates on Al Garhoud Bridge and on Sheikh Zayed Road opposite Mall of the Emirates.
Media reports claim there are plans to introduction additional toll gates on Emirates Road, Al Khail Road, Al Ittihad Road, Shindagha Tunnel, Business Bay Crossing and Maktoum Bridge by 2009, and on the yet-to-be-built Shindagha Bridge and a fifth bridge spanning Dubai Creek by 2010.
Just over 16% of respondents to the poll urged the RTA to set up more toll gates as soon as possible to clear up the emirate's congested roads, while 14.7% said the authority should do it once they have solid plan on how to invest the proceeds.
Motorists are charged 4 dirhams ($1.1) each time they pass through the toll gates, paying a maximum of 24 dirhams in any one day.
Al Tayer said last week that Salik had helped reduce traffic on Al Garhoud Bridge and Sheikh Zayed Road by 45%.
However, the scheme has been heavily criticised for worsening congestion in other areas of Dubai, especially around Deira and Bur Dubai, as motorists take alternative routes to avoid paying the toll.