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There are now three sets of Salik gates in Dubai - two placed on the arterial Sheikh Zayed Road at Safa and Barsha respectively, two on the Maktoum and Garhoud bridges and now two on the main roads to Sharjah at Al Mamzar (Ittihad Road, AKA 'Murder Mile') and the Airport Tunnel (Beirut Street).
There are actually two gates on the Ittihad Road, but they charge as one - as do the two gates on the Sheikh Zayed road IF you pass between them both within one hour (the one hour limitation doesn't apply on the Ittihad Road, so you can pass under one gate, camp overnight and then carry on without incurring an additional charge.).
Nevertheless, if you want to drive from Sharjah to, say, the Jumeirah Beach Residence and back, you're going to get hit for six tolls, currently by a huge coincidence the maximum Dhs24. Now the cap has been removed, any further Salik teasing will result in Dhs4 a time being deducted with a satanic giggle from your Salik account. The alternatives are, practically, the E311 and E611 bypass roads although with some fancy footwork you can get through Qusais and onto the Al Khail Road.
This route is massively congested during rush hours mainly because everybody and his uncle is trying to save Dhs8 each way (they gets you in the road in and they gets you again on the bridge). Caught up in that snarling traffic, cars cutting in, jostling and changing lanes as they cut you up, slumped listlessly over your steering wheel as you wait for the next creep forward and admire the shimmer of the heat on the metal tightly packed all around you, you could be forgiven for wondering what part of 'clear' does the Arabic word salik mean to the RTA.
The RTA has been quick to point out that the change to the cap will only affect some 5% of drivers, but couriers and logistics providers have been most unamused at the scheme. Probably because that 5% of drivers include them - and they will very easily knock up tens of journeys through those gates a day.
You waitses, preciousss, just you waitses for the outcry when they sneaks in a raise to Dhs5 per gate. Oh noes, you might say, they'd never be mad enough to do that!!! I leave you, then, with this parting thought from super-duper tabloid-tastic newspaper 7Days' report on the whole shemoozle:
"The RTA declined to comment when asked by 7DAYS for more information on why the move is being implemented - and whether there are plans to introduce any more Salik charges in the near future."