By Andy Sambidge
Al Maktoum Bridge will not charge between 10pm and 6am after Sept 9 launch.
One of the two new Salik gates in Dubai will be toll free for motorists between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
Motorists will not be charged a fee on Al Maktoum Bridge during those hours after it becomes operational - along with another between the first and second interchanges on Sheikh Zayed Road - on September 9.
A senior official at the Roads and Transport Authority said the decision aims to help motorists because the alternative route, the Floating Bridge, remains closed at night during these hours, reported UAE daily Gulf News on Thursday.
Motorists will also only be charged only once if they pass through two Salik gates, including the new one near the second interchange and the existing one at Al Barsha.
Installation of the new toll gates comes as part of the second phase of the Salik system to regulate traffic on Dubai's roads.
And it is understood that more Salik gates will be installed in future.
If the Salik system is here to regulate traffic and not as a form of road tax, I wonder why does it still charge motorists even during weekends and holidays when the impetus to regulate traffic is absent? I hope the RTA will also consider this as an exception soon.
The Salik system (like the less-than-transparent visa regulations) has far more to do with greed than common sense, another example of improvised and therefore ever-changing official policy. Why let â€œlearning by doingâ€ take precedence over intelligent planning? Letâ€™s look at the quality of the thinking at RTA. For example, try driving from the Park Hyatt on Dubai Creek to the Hilton Dubai Creek (maybe 2km apart on Baniyas Road) without being routed through the Deira City Centre car parks because someone put a kerb in the wrong place to stop you looping back to Baniyas Road after coming down the U-turn flyoverâ€¦. Itâ€™s 4 times as far but much quicker to go over Garhoud Bridge, past the Grand Hyatt and over the Floating Bridge â€“ that's where you started from... Or try driving from Deira to Sharjah without being caught in the bumper-to-bumper on the wrong side of the kerb dividing Al Ittihad Road as you crawl and curse your way past the Airport, behind Khaleej Times, round Baghdad Street and all the other back roads, admiring those coming from Abu Dhabi whooshing past you a couple of inches away over the kerb (I wonder how many drive over it in their 4x4s trying to escape the gridlock...) before you eventually resurface on Highway E11 in Sharjah, a couple of hours wastedâ€¦ If you want to avoid that mess, then drive from Deira over Garhoud bridge to World Trade Centre roundabout near Zaâ€™abeel (i.e. in the opposite direction) and go back the way you came from on E11, sticking well to the left after crossing Garhoud Bridge again. A detour of 14 km (!) but well worth while in terms of time not spent in the eternal queues past the Airport. Just an idea: maybe the decision makers should spend more time on the road getting a taste of everyday reality for hundreds of thousands of normal, helicopter-deprived people - and then decide whatâ€™s good for the quality of (life in) Dubaiâ€¦
I have been hearing that UAE specially Dubai wants to copy what Singapore is doing and last year i happened to visit Singapore. They too have Toll Gates within the CITY - and you won't realise when the the charges paid are over 16 Sng. Dollars. However at night they dont charge at all. This move of RTA is welcome, public would appreciate if the same is effective for all the TOLL GATES after evening hours. (say 8 am to 8pm let them charge)