By Asfhaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: No new Salik toll gates will be installed with the launch of the Dubai Metro on Wednesday, a top official said.
“We have no immediate plan to introduce Salik on more roads even after the metro launch,” Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said.
He stressed the RTA would not increase charges on any of its existing services and would also not introduce any new fees this year following instructions from the government.
He said that reports in the market about introducing of new Salik gates with the metro launch are baseless.
However, Al Tayer did not completely rule out the possibility of having more Salik controlled roads in future depending on the growth and trends in Dubai traffic. “I cannot give any time frame as it all depends on the mobility needs in future.
“All I can say is that we don’t take such decisions without conducting studies in advance,” he added.
Al Tayer said Salik was one of the steps to cope with the mobility needs of Dubai as part of the RTA strategic transportation plan. “The expansion of this system and the implementation of other initiatives included in the RTA’s transportation plan are absolutely subject to the requirements of achieving the mentioned goal.”
He said the RTA has well established, flexible and powerful transportation planning and project prioritisation tools that are used to assess the situation, update the RTA strategic plans, identify and prioritise different projects and initiatives.
The RTA chief considered Salik as a pioneer project which has responded well to the traffic congestion challenge. “Our before and after analysis and field surveys have demonstrated the success of Salik in achieving its objectives as planned.”
Al Tayer said the Salik system has helped in increasing the average travel speed at the Salik controlled corridors by around 20 per cent.
For example, the travel time required from the fourth interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road to Al Nahda Interchange at Al Ittihad Road has reduced from 80 minutes before Salik to around 25 minutes after Salik.
Similarly, traffic volumes at both the Al Garhoud and Al Maktoum bridges have reduced by around 30 per cent.
Salik has enhanced a desirable shift of traffic towards Business Bay Crossing and Emirates Road where traffic volumes on these facilities have increased by 47 per cent and seven per cent respectively.
The RTA introduced the Salik toll system in July 2007 with installation of two toll gates including one at Al Garhoud Bridge and the other near Al Barsha. Two more gates including on Al Maktoum Bridge and another near Safa Park were installed last year.
Toll charges are Dh4 every time a car passes through a toll gate.