DUBAI // If you drive in Dubai you'll need to register for Salik, the city's road toll system, or risk having to pay fines.
The process is simple: buy an electronic tag and attach it to your windscreen. The tag costs Dh100, which includes Dh50 credit for your account.
Then, once you've activated it by phone, you'll automatically be charged Dh4 every time you pass through one of four tollgates. There are two on Sheikh Zayed Road, one at Al Maktoum Bridge and one at Al Garhoud Bridge.
Once it is up and you running the system is largely fuss-free. You'll receive SMS messages telling you when your account balance is running low, and you can buy scratchcards at a petrol station to add more credit or top up online. Each time you go through a toll point without any credit you are fined Dh50.
Motorcycle owners have to buy a tag but need not display it - instead the registration plate is recorded as they pass through tollgates.
The word Salik means open or clear, and the scheme was introduced by the Roads and Transport Authority in 2007 to reduce congestion.
Keen motorist Shaima Al Sayed, the acting manager of the Women Auto Racing Club, said: "When Salik started I wasn't very happy because they did not have alternatives like the Metro. But now the alternatives are available - there's the Dubai Bypass Road, and the Emirates Road is much wider - and Salik is a pretty good idea. It works fine. To some extent is has reduced congestion."
- For more information on Salik, call 800 72545 or visit www.salik.gov.ae