Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No such thing as a free way

So shortly after the addition of two gates and the return to charging it on taxi travel, the 24 AED (4 AED per crossing makes that 6 crossings) daily limit on Salik has been lifted.

According to the authorities, it does not affect "around 95 per cent of motorists". This, of course, can change with further expansion of the number of gates, or counting consecutive crossings of the two SZR gates as two separate crossings.

That aside, if "95 per cent" of people are unaffected, how does this fit into the RTA's goal of using Salik to "reduce congestion"? With Salik operational at nights and on weekends as well, this explanation is looking less and less credible.

Given that this is a tax-free country, money needs to come from somewhere for a good road system, which is generally what we have. As long as the money is going towards productive projects, like the very useful recent streamlining of Al Khail Road, I'm happy to pay a reasonable amount as a road toll. It's just really difficult to not roll your eyes when what is obviously a revenue stream is being repeatedly portrayed as a regulatory mechanism.

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