Owning a car in Dubai is not as easy as it used to be and day by day it is becoming more expensive for people to own and maintain a car in Dubai. Apart from the steady increase in fuel prices and insurance rates, the government has also made using the Salik gates more expensive for the car owners in Dubai.
To reduce congestion of traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road, the RTA has implemented a plan in which it has de-linked Al-Barsha and Al-Safa Salik gates so that now those travelling form JLT to DIFC have to pay AED 8 every time they cross a gate whereas in the past, the travelers were charged only once. What this means is in the past, you only had to pay AED 4 when driving from JLT to DIFC but now the drivers have to pay DH 8 instead. The reason why RTA has chosen to increase the Salik is to re-distribute the traffic flow on the main roads as the Sheikh Zayed Road is an express traffic route and delinking the two Salik toll gates would reduce the traffic flow on the Sheikh Zayed Road with the drivers finding alternative routes to travel such as the Al Khail Road or the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road to avoid paying the extra Salik.
While commuting back and forth from work if you pass through both the Salik gates then it means that your Salik costs have doubled. For instance, if you are passing from the Trade Center to the Dubai Marina, everyday you as a driver are paying an extra AED 8 in Salik and if you commute 5 days a week then it means that you are paying an extra AED 160 a month. However, for those who do not pass through both the Salik gates, the delinking will not make any difference to them whatsoever unless they want to take a faster commuting route; they would then then have to pay extra or go through much slower alternative routes.
For those who do not know about Salik – Salik is an automatic toll collection system in Dubai which started in 2007. Salik in Arabic means ‘clear,” ‘open’ and ‘moving’ and the Salik scheme currently has seven toll gates set up around Dubai. Salik is a cashless transaction and all the drivers require is a Salik Tag which together with the driver’s car is scanned by the RIFD or the Radio Frequency Identification Technology and each time a car passes through the Salik toll point, AED 4 is automatically deducted from the car’s Prepaid Salik toll account. The Salik has been designed by the RTA as a free flowing system i.e. due to the Salik toll gates the drivers do not have to stop their car anytime on the highway to pay Salik each time a car passes through the toll gates.
Initially before 2013, the Salik rules and regulations were quite laxed and a vehicle could only be charged a maximum of Dh24 per day and there weren’t any limits to how many times a vehicle could pass through the Salik gates in a day. However, after 2013 these rules and regulations were revised and now if a vehicle goes through 20 gates in day, it will be charged Dh4 per gate it passes through i.e. a whopping total of DH80 in a single day.
The vehicles that are exempted from being charged Salik include military vehicles, police cars, ambulances, school or college buses and RTA buses. The costs for setting up a Salik account are as follows;
-Salik Tag Costs – DH50
-One-Time Cost for the Salik Account – DH50
-Recharge Costs – from DH50 to DH50,000
-Delivery Costs of Salik Tag when it is purchased online – DH20
-Each Toll Gate charges – AED 4 (when vehicle passes through)
Another thing to keep in mind is that this year the RTA has clearly mentioned that VAT will not be applicable on the Salik gates or any other public transport facilities and services. Not only this but the commuters using public transport facilities like the buses, metro, tram, maritime transport facilities and the taxis will also not be charged any VAT at all.
The drivers also need to keep in mind the Salik violations so that they can avoid violating the law where possible. Let us look at what is considered to be some major Salik violations;
- Insufficient funds in the Prepaid Salik Account – this is an ISF (Insufficient Fund) violation and the penalty for this is DH50 if a driver drives through the Salik toll gate and doesn’t recharge his account within 5 working days. If during that time the driver passes through these gates, multiple times during the day he will still be charged a one-time violation fee of AED 50 each day for 5 consecutive days till he recharges his account i.e. if he recharges his account on the 3rd day then he would only have to pay DH150 in
- Unregistered Salik Tag/Plate – this is a URP (Unregistered Plate) violation and it occurs when a driver drives through a Salik gate without a registered Salik tag on his vehicle. If the vehicle with unregistered tag passes the Salik gates again, another charge of 100 DHS. Not only that but if the driver still fails to buy and register a Salik tag after the first fine, he will be charged DH200 the second time and DH400 each time he drives through a Salik gate but, keeping in mind that the driver will be charged at a maximum of one violation per day irrespective of the number of times he passes through the gates per day.
The RTA has announced that the owners of electric cars can get their vehicles Salik tags registered for free as part of the government’s greener roads initiative. However, while the Salik tag is free on registration for electric car owners the trips through the Salik gates will still be charged and even the electric vehicles aren’t exempted from the Salik gate fee of AED 4.
- Roberts, Rebecca. (2018). New Salik Gate on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Retrieved from https://www.expatwoman.com/dubai/home-car/driving-in-dubai/new-salik-gate-on-sheikh-zayed-road-in-dubai
- Kumar, Aroma. (2018). New Salik Gates to Begin Operation in October. Retrieved from http://www.dubaiweek.io/news/41272/new-dubai-salik-gate-e11-begin-operation-october/
- Tesorero, Angel. (2018). All you need to know about Salik in Dubai. Retrieved from https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/transport//all-you-need-to-know-about-salik-in-dubai