UAE needs unified road toll for all emirates, says official

Sharjah investment chief Marwan Al Serkal says different systems is confusing for drivers

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 2, 2020.  Foggy morning on the first day of the Abu Dhabi toll gates opening. Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
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The UAE should have a single unified road toll instead of separate systems for different emirates, a senior Emirati official said.

Marwan Al Serkal, executive chairman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, said one system would be easier for motorists.

He spoke as Abu Dhabi prepares to charge drivers each time they cross the four bridges onto the main island.

“I find it best to unify the [toll gate] system and bring coordination between the seven emirates," he wrote on Twitter, sharing photos of Dubai's Salik and Abu Dhabi's bridge toll gates.

"Just imagine that one has to register his vehicle in all seven emirates and pay registration fees in seven locations. And imagine pasting seven stickers on your car. I think we need coordination.”

The head of the investment authority, also known as Shurooq, has previously urged police to educate motorists and tackle bad driving.

Abu Dhabi is set to charge for crossing onto the island from late March or early April.

The system was originally to go live on October 15 but was pushed back to January 2 after many residents cited difficulties in registering their vehicles for the tolls. Then - as drivers struggled to register on January 2 - officials announced there would be a three-month grace period.

Many commuters from outside the emirate reported issues with the text message confirmation system. Many said they did not receive the required one-time-password text message to complete the online registration process.

Even during the grace period, drivers should be signed up with cash in their online accounts, officials said.

From Saturday to Thursday, drivers will pay a Dh4 rush hour charge when driving through the gates between 7-9am and 5-7pm. A maximum fee of Dh16 will be levied in any one day.

Dubai has operated the Salik road toll system since 2007. It was introduced to encourage drivers to cut back on private car use, to use the low-cost bus and metro systems and is credited with tackling the crippling congestion seen at the time.

The other five emirates have no existing plans for road tolls.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -May 01, 2017: HE Marwan Al Serkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) (2nd R) greets Angela Merkel Chancellor of Germany (R), during a reception at the Presidential Airport. 
( Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi )
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Shurooq chief Marwan Al Serkal, pictured with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2017, says the UAE should have a single road toll system. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi