Salik-free hours on Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road?

Salik charges continue to drive UAE commuters around the bend, with the road toll‎ emerging as one of the top topics raised by residents in an online, freewheeling chat with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai.

The 'Chat With RTA' hour on micro blogging site Twitter finally put to rest the question that's been on everyone's mind: Will a Salik-free drive‎ emerge as a future possibility for Sheikh Zayed Road commuters?

The question was raised by several residents, some asking for a possibility of off-peak hours on Sheikh Zayed Road, devoid of toll charges, similar to the policy applied on Al Maktoum Bridge where residents are exempt from Salik charges between 10pm and 6am from Saturday to Thursday and until 9am on Friday.

Other residents also inquired of a possibility of Salik-free Fridays, when commuter traffic is largely limited to weekenders.

However, ‎when quizzed on social media about the off-peak hours on Sheikh Zayed Road and at other Salik tollgates, RTA responded: "Salik is one of the efficient solutions RTA provides based on comprehensive traffic studies. Its gates have been installed at certain points.

"Dubai is a vibrant city and its streets and roads are witnessing intense traffic movement even at late hours every day.

"The passenger has the choice to choose to pass through Salik gates or take alternative roads."

‎When asked about making Friday a Salik-free drive, the RTA denied the possibility of such a move, via its official Twitter account, saying: "Salik is targeted to distribute traffic movement on the roads and Fridays witness intense traffic movement."

A query on new Salik tollgates was also not addressed.

‎The 'Chat With RTA' saw several residents flag up community related issues, including development plans in popular areas such as Dubailand and Jumeirah Village Circle communities.

The authority stated several road plans are in place to improve upon the daily commute for residents in those areas.

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