Sunday, 1 July 2007

Salik - A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Well, the papers should be full of this lot tomorrow. Dubai's congestion charge cuts in and it's certainly true that there's been no congestion today at the two points in the city where the toll's RFID scanners span the road.

But oh, dearie me, the picture is far from pretty almost everywhere else. Pushing thousands of cars an hour off the arterial Sheikh Zayed Road meant that the city's streets were heaving: the traffic this evening backed up past the airport, Maktoum and Satwa were rammed with punters trying to find any which way but Salik.

Even the Emarat station before the Garhoud toll had its queues: application form-waving punters ten deep as they made that last minute application for the little orange sticker. Barsha and the area around the projects was apparently misery this morning and will have been again tonight.

Some of the day's best fun was to be had on Facebook, the new forum for the Middle East's chatterers: "It’s a car park! I can’t find the logic in this!!!" says a furious Suzy, while an astonished Alisha keys, "It was also the worst road rage I've ever seen in my life!"

"With the exception of one straight stretch of road starting at Al Barsha, going through Sheikh Zayed Road, towards Garhoud Bridge, the remaining streets of Dubai have successfully, overnight, been turned into one huge parking lot," says a shocked Sherif who goes on, one suspects with a touch of irony, to say: "So worry not residents, all you need to do to grab lunch is turn off your engines wherever you are, pop out for a bite, and odds are, traffic will be at a standstill upon your return!"

While my favourite contribution of the day, from a naughty Nadim, was: "Anyone fancy helping me to take out a half page ad in the newspapers thanking RTA?"

I predicted this would be fun. And yes, I am delighted to have told you so. And I don't think it's really started in earnest yet: the best is definitely yet to come.

What larks, Pip!!

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