Business Bay residents forced to pay Salik

Business Bay is a preferred home and office location (File)

Several Business Bay residents are crying foul over new roadworks that have blocked all other access points in and out of the area, forcing them to use the Al Safa Salik tollgate.

Some say access point to enter the district from the toll free Al Khail Road is still open, but the exit road is blocked off, forcing them to re route their cars and head to Sheikh Zayed Road.

“Even a run to the grocery store is now forcing us to drive through the tollgates,” said Akanksha Mehta, a resident of Executive Towers in Business Bay who said the routes were blocked as early as the first week of April.

“I have a two-year-old child so you can imagine the number of times we have to rush in emergency supplies – be it for diapers, baby formula or cough medicine if she is sick.

“We moved to Business Bay because the rent was more affordable and the location was perfect for both my husband and my work commute. But this is hurting our pockets.”

Mehta calculated that between her husband and her car, their daily average now in just Salik fees alone is Dh16 each.

“If this continues we will be forced to pay Dh350 a month in just Salik!” she said.

Another resident, who did not wished to be named but also resides in one of the Executive Towers’ blocks, said: “I don’t believe this excuse of construction work is really true. All I have seen are sandpits being shifted from one place to another, but no actual roadwork ever taking place.” The two-year-old resident of the neighbourhood blamed the Roads and Transports Authority.


Roads exist

Navin Punjabi, an independent real estate consultant said: “Let me clarify... there is a way in and out of Business Bay district without crossing Salik, but the main problem is that people don’t know of the existence of such roads.

“The main access point into the area was via Downtown, which was also not a proper constructed  road, but rather a dirt track that was used by construction vehicles. Now that access has been blocked because of the roadworks and people are crying foul.

Punjabi revealed roads that few know exist into and out of Business Bay, which include a dirt track that leads you from Eppco station into the area.

“There is an unconstructed road there that many people don’t know leads directly into the district.

“Another is an entry way through Al Khail Road also exists, but the road is unmarked so again, those who explore the area long enough know it’s there. Plus, the arteries reading to this proper road are unconstructed, hence causing the confusion.”

These roads were verified by this reporter.

When Emirates 24|7 contacted the RTA, calls went unanswered.

The RTA reportedly collected Dh776 million in Salik fees in 2009 compared with Dh669m in 2008 and Dh214m over six months after July 2007, when the toll was introduced in Dubai. Car owners are charged Dh4 for passing through the gates.

Punjabi says irrespective of the Salik woes, the district is still hot property due to its location, spacious apartments and affordable rents, revealing that the area’s popular Executive Towers currently are 85 per cent occupied.

“Business Bay boasts a prime location, with average rents ranging between Dh60,000-Dh70,000 for a one-bedroom flat, Dh70,000-Dh90,000 for a two-bedroom and Dh95,000 to Dh110,000 for a three-bedroom. It doesn’t get better than this.”

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