Salik, the revolutionary toll on Dubai’s roads

The city has always been at the cutting edge of innovation, and this is also true of Dubai’s roads. Today, it is its toll system, Salik, that is attracting international attention and admiration.

Salik, a revolution in the toll system

Salik, which means “clear and fluid” in Arabic, is a non-stop toll system that was introduced in 2007 to ease traffic flow in the ever-changing city of Dubai. It was designed to replace the traditional toll system with cutting-edge technology based on the principle of remote sensing, thereby optimising traffic flow and reducing traffic jams.

The Salik system uses RFID (radio frequency identification) technology. A small sticker, which acts as a transponder, is placed on the windscreen of each vehicle. When a vehicle passes through one of the many Salik toll gates dotted around the city, the transponder is automatically detected and the toll is deducted from the vehicle owner’s Salik account.

What makes this system particularly innovative is that there are no stops, no toll booths, and therefore no interruption to traffic. Drivers don’t need to look for their change or credit card, which means they can concentrate on the road.

How to register with Salik

Signing up for Salik is a simple process. Drivers can purchase a Salik card from one of the many outlets in Dubai, then register it online or by phone. Once the card is registered, drivers can top up their Salik account by a variety of means, including online, by phone, by SMS, or at one of the many top-up points available across the city.

However, the system is not without controversy. Some residents complain about the cost of each trip, which currently stands at AED 4 (around €1), regardless of the distance travelled. Others are concerned about the impact on low-income drivers, who may find it difficult to afford the extra costs. Despite these concerns, the majority of residents and visitors appreciate the system for its efficiency and convenience.