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.