Dubai Salik: What are the charges, where are the toll gates and can I be fined?

Road-charging system was introduced in 2007 in effort to cut traffic levels in growing emirate

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - April 13, 2015.  The Al Barsha Toll Gate along Sheikh Zayed Road.  ( Jeffrey E Biteng / The National )  Editor's Note; Ramona R reports. *** Local Caption ***  JB130415-Salik10.jpg
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Dubai is to introduce two new Salik road toll gates by November as part of a major drive to cut congestion and cater to the emirate's continuing population boom.

The charging points will be installed at the Business Bay Crossing on Al Khail Road and in Al Safa South on Sheikh Zayed Road, between Al Meydan Street and Umm Al Sheif Street.

Similar to the Al Mamzar North and South toll gates, Al Safa South will be linked to the existing Al Safa North, so commuters will be charged only once if they pass through the two gates within one hour in the same direction.

Transport authorities said the location of the gates – the first additions to the Salik network in six years – were selected following extensive traffic studies.

They will bring the number of toll gates across the emirate to 10.

Salik was established in 2007 with the aim of easing traffic flow on the emirate's main transport link, Sheikh Zayed Road.

Salik Company – the operator of Dubai's toll gates – was directed to establish the new gates by Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority.

Why are the new gates being introduced?

Salik said the new gates were being installed to better manage traffic distribution and reduce congestion by encouraging motorists to use alternative, toll-free routes with greater capacity.

The RTA said the new Business Bay gate will assist in reducing traffic congestion by 12 to 15 per cent on Al Khail Road, cutting traffic volume by 10 to 16 per cent on Al Rabat Street and redistributing traffic to Al Maktoum and Al Garhoud bridges, and Ras Al Khor Street.

Al Safa South is expected to reduce right-turn traffic volume from Sheikh Zayed Road to Meydan Street by 15 per cent and ease traffic flow on Financial Centre, First Al Khail and Al Asayel streets.

Mattar Al Tayer, director general of the RTA, said the new toll gates were being built in line with the completion of the Al Khail Road Improvement Project.

The major road scheme will include the construction of five intersections and ramps.

Driving revenue

Increasing the number of toll gates on Dubai's roads will also boost revenue.

"With the launch of the new gates, Salik expects to see an increase in annual revenue-generating trips," Salik said in a statement on Friday.

Salik was established in its current form as a public joint stock company in June 2022. Toll use represents about 87 per cent of its revenue.

Since July 2022, Salik has been operating as a separate legal entity from the RTA through a 49-year concession agreement.

Salik raised Dh3.73 billion ($1 billion) in September 2022 from its initial public offering, which was more than 49 times oversubscribed across all tranches, with total gross demand at Dh184.2 billion.

In December, Salik teamed up with Emaar Malls to deliver a parking management system at Dubai Mall.

Has Salik helped cut congestion?

Mr Al Tayer said Dubai's road-charging strategy was key to its efforts to reduce traffic levels.

He said existing toll gates had played a key role in improving traffic flow.

"The existing toll gates contributed to reducing the total travel time in Dubai by 6 million hours annually, decreasing traffic volumes on the Al Maktoum and Al Garhoud bridges by 26 per cent, reducing travel times on Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Ittihad Street by 24 per cent, and increasing the number of mass transit users by 9 million riders per annum," he said.

When a toll gate was introduced in Jebel Ali in 2018, transport officials said it could reduce traffic by about 25 per cent. The RTA also wants more vehicles funnelled out to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road (311) and Emirates Road (611).

Transport agencies are stepping up efforts to ease congestion and boost road safety in respond to a growing Dubai population, which currently stands at more than 3.65 million, following a post-coronavirus rise in migration.

The RTA is seeking to reduce traffic levels through a comprehensive road-building strategy and is also working to bolster public transport options to take more cars off the roads.

How does Salik work?

Tags fixed to windscreens can be purchased online or at service stations. These can be topped up online or through recharge cards.

Each time you drive through a Salik toll gate, Radio Frequency Identification technology detects your vehicle and scans your Salik sticker tag.

Motorists are charged Dh4 to pass through each gate and the amount is deducted automatically from the card.

Drivers can set up an online account through the dedicated Salik app to monitor the amount of credit they have remaining and top up when necessary.

Unlike Abu Dhabi's Darb road toll system – which charges motorists only during peak morning and evening hours – Salik gates operate 24 hours a day, apart from at Al Maktoum Bridge, where the gate is free from 10pm to 6am Monday to Saturday and all day on Sundays.

How much does a Salik tag cost?

Motorists must pay Dh100 for a tag but this includes Dh50 in credit that is added to an account when activated. If you buy it online, an additional charge of Dh20 applies.

What are the fines for passing through a Salik gate without credit?

If you pass through the toll gate with insufficient balance in your account, you have a grace period of five working days to recharge. Failure to do so will result in a fine of Dh50 a day.

What happens if you don’t have a tag and drive through a toll gate?

Motorists have a grace period of 10 working days from the first trip to install a Salik tag. After this expires, a fine of Dh100 is imposed on the next trip, which increases with every time you pass.

More information on the penalties can be found on the RTA website.

Where are the existing toll gates?

  • Al Barsha
  • Al Garhoud
  • Al Maktoum
  • Al Mamzar South
  • Al Mamzar North
  • Al Safa
  • Airport Tunnel
  • Jebel Ali
Updated: January 21, 2024, 9:05 AM