Sunday, 30 November 2008


As Dubai's "integrated response" to the "challenges of the traffic issue" kicks in, we are seeing increased regulation of our lives on the roads. It's likely that nowhere else in the world are motorists subjected to such regular doses of radar - the fixed cameras are everywhere and the mobile ones are where the fixed ones aren't.

We're being charged to use some roads, thereby 'encouraging' us to use others. Seemingly random roadworks dot the city, adding extra excitement to the congestion. We're not allowed to share our cars unless we have registered to do so. Dubai trarn-sport has replaced the private sector cabbie solution with a modern integrated trarn-sport solution and now we can't get cabs when we need them - increasingly a problem at certain times, even if they're pre-booked through the call centre. Those cabs are increasingly expensive: including a Dhs20 surcharge to go to Sharjah.

They're also replacing Dubai's traditional (and much loved) abra water taxis with a fleet of modern, air-conditioned customer-centric boats that nobody seems to want.

I reckon working for the RTA must be tough. The poor guys must rank below investment advisors on the unpopular job chart. You can just see the kitchen at the party.

"I'm an interior design consultant. What do you do?"
"Oh, you know, import/export kind of stuff!"
"Alan? Why did you say that? You work for the RTA, darling!"

They do have my sympathy. Altogether now? Aaahhh.

Which is probably why I am amused by RTA cars negotiating the sandy snicket that lies between Sharjah and Dubai of a morning. Given that their job is to deal with the problem, it seems unfair that they're not eating their own dog-food.

But insult was added to injury the other day when an RTA car sped past me pulling upward of 120kph on the infamously mobile-radar infested Academic City Road. Really. An insane 80kph speed limit applies on this stretch of tw0-lane each way desert blacktop and the boys in green are such a very regular occurence than nobody dares break the limit there anymore. We just go quietly insane, crawling through the empty desert at a snail's pace. Unless we work for the RTA, in which case we're obviously immune.

And then this morning I found myself on another 80kph road, this time in Sharjah, as another joker in an RTA vehicle slammed past me pulling at least 120 klicks.

And, dear reader, for one awful, vengeful moment, I have to confess my heart was not filled with love towards our 'traffic expert' colleagues. I am, I know, a bad person.


Seabee said...

To add to the fun the RTA doles out, I'm sure you read today that 100 categories of workers will no longer be issued with driving licences. People like nurses. And bakers. What have they done to upset the RTA? It's bizarre.

I looked for 'bloggers who criticise the RTA' but that wasn't listed in GN's report.

alexander... said...

I was going to look at that, but then thought 'Nah. Bet Seabee does that one...'


rosh said...

Seabee, am not sure it's an RTA legislation/law. The 100 categories apply only in SHJ.

Alex, it's nice to read your posts commuting between Emirates. My brothers and friends share similar grief/thoughts. So did I, whilst living there.

sabaza said...

Rosh, The grief is not reserved to Sharjah residents. We all share that grief.

People criticize the RTA? Really? But what for? I can't think of many reasons.

I mean there's one or two:

- The new defense round about that changes lanes every day and creates massive confusion in which lane one is supposed to take leading to numerous accidents?

- The recently completed bridge/underpass network around the business bay / Al Wasl hospital area that leads to another few accidents because people realize at the last minute that the lane they're in will lead them to business bay?

- It's also not so long ago that I was heading off towards the new garhoud brige to get to the Irish Village for some bevvies when I found myself being guided forcibly all the way to Sharjah with no way to turn!

- etc...

But seriously, why would anyone criticize them? They're doing a brilliant job keeping the public busy with being pissed off at traffic so they can't complain about other horrid living conditions

Mockingbird said...

Your RTA and the UK's traffic planners must be joined at hip and handbag. Driving in the UK has passed the point of complete insanity, and is slowly turning back inwards upon itself. Factor in the thousands of foreign registered cars that are running around (particularly in the London area) whose owners' haven't got a clue about driving in the UK, and you have a nightmare of epidemic proportions. I must admit, I would be having the four by four and negotiating the sandy snicket.... but purely because I love off roading, and any opportunity that presents itself is fine by me. But you definitely have my commiserations over the insane speed limit and the boys in green (bet the fines are pretty steep too).

Seabee said...

Spot on Alexander, I did.

Rosh you're right. Today's 'clarification' is that it's only Sharjah (and 86 not 100 catagories).

Mockingbird, you'd be surprised at the fines. Huge amounts like £15 or so.

Anonymous said...

Well the head of RTA's nephew was killed in a car carsh on SZR on Thursday, suspected speeding.

People associated with RTA might have speeding imunity, but when somethings goes wrong, that doesn't save their lives.

Rose in Dubai said...

>>Well the head of RTA's nephew was killed in a car carsh on SZR on Thursday, suspected speeding<<

Saw that. A 19-year old driving a Lambourghini. How completely insane is that. Its a miracle he only killed himself - I think he should be nominated for a Darwin Award!

Anonymous said...

Well, his uncle is responsible for narrowing lanes on SZR, and taking away the hard shoudlers, making it less safe. You reap what you sow. Four lanes squeezeed into underpasses designed for three and ahrd shoulder at Trade centre Roundabout. You reap what you sow...

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