I thought that I would never see this day, but apparently, the Road & Transport Authority (RTA) has managed to pull a miracle; traffic jam at 1am. And no, it is not an unusual incident like a horrific traffic accident, but rather, the introduction of Salik Toll Road on Sheikh Zayed Road.
It started out back in July 2007 (i.e. over a year ago) when these electronic tolls were installed on Garhoud bridge and Sheikh Zayed Road by Interchange #4 which is next to Mall of the Emirates. Surprise, surprise; people avoided them by going on the parallel routes.
Well, the second phase started on September 9th (originally slated for September 1st) whereas another two tolls would be positioned; one on Al Maktoom bridge and the second on Sheikh Zayed Road between Interchange #1 (Defense Roundabout) and Interchange #2 (where the Metropolitan hotel is located). Naturally, I along many Dubai commuters decided that passing the toll late at night is not worth it and because traffic is light, we can afford the extra 5 minutes and head from Al Wasel Road.
Not surprisingly, all the commuters and regular drivers of Dubai have the same feeling, thus resulting in the traffic jam. The solution is so simple that I often wonder why the RTA does not implement it immediately. It would go a long way to prove that they are addicted to solving traffic woes in Dubai and not just earning supplemental income for the coffers of the municipality.
The tolls should be operational when they are needed; i.e. during peak traffic hours. After all, anyone who utilizes them should ensure that they really need to drive their cars during that period of time. Now, the talk shows on radio have had experts from the traffic police claim that Dubai suffers from an extended rush hour that almost lasts the whole working day. Thus, I propose that the toll is operational from 8am till 9pm every business day. That is sufficient and easily done.
After all, the toll on Al Maktoum bridge is operational between 6am till 10 pm every day (since the Floating Bridge which does not have a toll on it) is closed during that time. So, why can't it be done for Sheikh Zayed Road instead of having the traffic jam on the parallel road Al Wasel which is not a main highway, but rather made for residential traffic. Who has the common sense to implement it at the RTA? Or is that not a skill not required?!?!