Sign-up woes persist as Abu Dhabi road tolls launch

Motorists say they are struggling to sign up or make changes to their accounts

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 18, 2019.  The new Abu Dhabi toll gate on Sheikh Zayed Bridge.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Motorists are still experiencing problems signing up to Abu Dhabi’s road tolls system online, with just hours to go before the gates are switched on.

The emirate will activate four toll gates for the first time on Thursday.

The tolls, at four bridges linking Abu Dhabi island with the mainland, were originally due to be switched on in October.

But transport authorities put the brakes on the plans before launch, announcing a free trial period would be in place until January 1.

At the time, motorists were relieved because they had struggled to complete the registration process. However, the woes persist for some.

My worry is that I will incur fines through no fault of my own

Abu Dhabi resident Robert Bradley has tried and failed to activate his account online numerous times.

“We went on and we tried to register our vehicle with our Emirates ID and put in our password, all that kind of stuff. But it didn’t work,” he said.

“And when we try to make a new account it says the email address is already registered.”

Mr Bradley's car is due for re-registration in two weeks' time and he is worried he may incur fines if the issue is not fixed.

“I have had fines before here when it was a miscalculation and the trouble I had to go to to get that fine squashed was unbelievable. I wasn’t even in the country at the time. I can only imagine what’s going to happen here if we have the same situation.”

Others have managed to successfully sign up, but are unable to make changes to their accounts.

Abu Dhabi teacher, Rahim Rodney-Agbu, said he has tried and failed to remove an old car from his profile.

“When the toll system initially launched back in October, I owned two cars. Both were automatically registered online. I have since sold one of the vehicles and bought a new one, but I am unable to remove the old car from my profile.

“Now I have three cars registered for the toll system but I only own two cars.”

There is an option to delete a car from a profile, but every time he tried, he received an error message.

He said he is concerned he will be billed for the old vehicle every time the new owner passes through the toll gates.

“I have been trying every day in the lead up to the tolls going live, but no joy,” said Mr Rodney-Agbu.

Marhaba Angel, a trainee manager in Dubai, said she was finally able to register her vehicle last month after several rejections. But the problems did not end there.

“I tried to register in October and November but never received the OTP to confirm my login details on the website.

“On December 23, the registration finally went through for my Dubai vehicle but now I am having issues topping up my account."

While Abu Dhabi motorists should have their details registered on to the system free of charge, those from other emirates need to sign up themselves and pay a Dh100 fee, Dh50 of which will be credited back to their account.

But after attempting to pay the mandatory Dh100, Ms Angel said the amount was rejected twice.

“On my third try the payment went through, but two days later my bank statement showed three lots of Dh100 had been debited from my bank account.

“Now, when I look online, my toll balance is showing as zero. And when I check the vehicle tab online, my car is now not showing as registered.

“I made a complaint with the Department of Transport but it has not been rectified yet. My worry is that I will incur fines through no fault of my own.”

The toll gates are located on Saadiyat, Maqta, Mussaffah and Sheikh Khalifa bridges.

They work in a similar way to the longstanding Salik system in Dubai, where drivers are charged every time they pass under an active gate.

Initially drivers were going to be charged Dh4 during peak periods and Dh2 outside those times, as well as on Fridays and public holidays. But that has since changed.

Transport authorities announced last month that drivers will only be charged during rush hour, incurring a Dh4 charge each time a car passes through the gates between 7am and 9am, and from 5pm to 7pm.

Charges will also be waived on Fridays and public holidays.

Department of Transport has been contacted for comment.