By Dylan Bowman
Dubai transport authority will not rule out introduction of further toll gates, chairman says.
Dubai's transport authority on Tuesday admitted for the first time it is studying the possibility of expanding its unpopular road toll scheme to other parts of the city.
Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Chairman Mattar Al Tayer said the traffic department was evaluating the existing Salik system and conducting studies for future projects, and would not rule out the introduction of further toll gates, reported UAE daily Gulf News.
"I can't say yes or no on the second phase of the Salik toll system on Dubai roads," Al Tayer said, quoted the newspaper.
"But it does not mean that Salik is being introduced on other roads... We have not taken any decision on the implementation of the second phase of the Salik."
The RTA has been dogged by talk of a massive expansion to the existing scheme ever since Salik was launched in July last year.
However, the authority has previously always denied it is studying an expansion to the scheme.
Al Tayer's remarks will come as bad news to hundreds of thousands of motorists that have to pay 4 dirhams ($1.1) each time they pass through the toll gates located on Al Garhoud Bridge and on Sheikh Zayed Road next to Mall of the Emirates.
The last report on the expansion of Salik stated the RTA plans to cover all major roads and bridges in the emirate with toll gates by 2010, citing a senior official at the authority.
RELATED: RTA dogged by talk of massive Salik expansion
The official claimed there were plans to introduction toll gates on Emirates Road, Al Khail Road, Al Ittihad Road, Shindagha Tunnel, Business Bay Crossing and Maktoum Bridge by 2009.
The source also said gates would be erected on the yet-to-be-built Shindagha Bridge and a fifth bridge spanning Dubai Creek by 2010, bringing the total number of toll gates to 10.
According to Gulf News, Al Tayer said Salik had helped reduce traffic on Al Garhoud Bridge and Sheikh Zayed Road by 45%.
Many motorists now avoid using Al Garhoud Bridge to escape paying the toll, and 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.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.