Sunday, July 08, 2007

Chaos is not the RTA's fault.

For months before it was introduced, many of us said that Salik would create problems.

The wrong toll system was selected, management of it was inept, the 24/7 toll timings were wrong, the tollgate locations were wrong, it was introduced before the alternative roads & bridges and the Metro were ready, incomplete information was given to us.

Well, the results were as we predicted. But we were obviously wrong to think the RTA was in any way to blame. Here's part of their advertisement in today's Gulf News:

See, nothing to do with the RTA. It's all down to drivers not being ready or not being able to understand what to do.

And to 'delays in opening alternative roads'. The RTA is in charge of the alternative roads. They knew, as we all did, the bloody roads & bridges were nowhere near ready. But delay the start of Salik until alternatives were ready? Not a chance with the arrogant RTA.

Then to the Hotline - and the website.

The fault is not that they didn't get it right. Like having enough tags available in time at enough outlets. Like explaining what it was all about. Like texting confirmation of account details. You know, stuff that would mean people didn't have to contact them.

Oh no, that isn't the problem. Nor is not having enough people in the call centres, not having an efficient system of texting in place. Or sending 135 identical texts to people, as detailed in letters to the papers.

No, no. None of that is the problem. The problem is 'the volume of calls to the hotline'. Our fault again.

So 'be patient and keep trying' the hotline, hanging on for hours. Or 'refer to the website'. That's been impossible to get into too.

The taxi stupidity.

By the way, a further chaos-causing decision has appeared that I wasn't clear about before. Taxis have to pay the toll and the toll cap of Dh24 a day does not apply to them. If they don't have a passenger the poor driver has to pay the Dh4 every time he passes a tollgate. So the alternative routes are clogged even more with empty taxis.


One of the worst-hit areas is Al Barsha and the flyover from Al Sufouh. And here's the sort of driving we have to contend with when we're stuck in the jams. Late-morning last week, fifty minutes to get from the ramp of the flyover from Al Sufouh to Lulu Hypermarket in Al Barsha. That would be less than 2 kilometres I would think.

Cars behind me decided to push onto the hard shoulder onto the adjoining slip road...

...then across the grass, around behind the truck illegally parked in the middle of the junction, to try to force their way back into the traffic less than fifty metres further on.

Arrogant, ignorant morons.

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