Thank you for the New Year’s gift RTA

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If I am being taxed I’d rather know about it or does ‘ignorance is bliss’ fit into this context?

This morning, according to Gulf News’ reporting, the RTA has given Dubai’s taxi users yet another reason to be disgruntled as the New Year rolls in. If you remember a time when you had to put up with paying the Salik Toll fee on your daily commute then you were a 2007 user. If you’ve arrived here afterwards then it won’t necessarily matter but you still have the right to know.

As of January 1st, the rule that was introduced and then scrapped will be reinstated once again; to the displeasure of many Dubai residents that rely heavily on taxi transportation. Judging by the buzzing Twitter feed this morning, tweets ranged from tasteful puns to plain old ‘what the hecks’.

‘Not Again!’, ‘Taxis just got REAL expensive’, ‘as a daily Dubai taxi user, I am so disappointed’ and ‘nooo, that’s not fare’ are some of our favourites.

According to the RTA, the payment scheme was discontinued in December 2008 after receiving what they described as ‘numerous complaints from customers who felt cheated’.  “Cab drivers had to manually add the Dh4 toll on the fare and this made tourists think they were being cheated. This time, the meters will automatically add the toll,” an official at the RTA said.

This official quote truly baffles Kipp. For one, we hardly believe that tourists were complaining because the fare was added manually but that it was added at all. Yes, road tolls are not unfamiliar to most expatriates but for them, the emirate is a representation of a ‘tax-free’ land. The only difference with the Dh4 toll being added automatically is that most tourists will remain unaware that it was added and will assume it was merely part of the overall fare.

Personally, if I am going to be taxed, I’d rather know about it and see it done manually but maybe that’s just Kipp. Secondly, the RTA mentions no other reason why they are bringing the Salik toll back, except why it was discontinued earlier. Are you telling me that they needed four years to automate the system or is it as one intelligent Tweeter noted today (won’t mention who); just another way to fund real estate projects?

In either case, thank you for the New Year’s gift RTA!