Abu Dhabi roads welcome 2 sustainable initiatives
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

Abu Dhabi roads welcome 2 sustainable initiatives

A possible relief from tolls with a cheaper and environmentally friendly mode of transport.

A few months ago, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport (DOT) announced the introduction of road tolls to reduce the number of cars on the road and cut down carbon emissions. While they will be introduced tomorrow, i.e. 15 October, the DOT has announced the trial phase which will run from 15 October until 1 January 2019, whereby no fees will be applied.

This introduction will allow people to get comfortable, find alternative routes if they wish to avoid the tolls, as well as give them time to complete their registrations.

Moreover, the DOT also announced that certain citizens will be exempt from paying tolls. This includes senior citizens, retirees, people of determination, low income earners and Martyrs’ family members.

Furthermore, private vehicle owners can benefit from daily and monthly caps to toll fees. The fees have a AED 16 daily cap, and a monthly cap of AED 200 for the first vehicle, AED 150 for the second, and AED 100 for each additional vehicle.

There are four toll gates installed are at Sheikh Zayed, Maqta, Mussaffah and Sheikh Khalifa bridges. They cost AED 4 during peak hours, which are 7am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm between Saturday and Thursday. The rest of the time the toll charge is just AED 2, including public holidays.

Vehicles registered in Abu Dhabi have already been added to the database, and those registered outside the Emirate have been urged to register on the system.

Sustainability initiative 2.0

The announcement of this trial phase came a day after the department introduced a new online carpooling system in the city, before which carpooling was illegal. The move was made to help reduce the number of cars travelling in the city, while helping people cut down costs and allow those with or without cars a better, cheaper and environmentally friendlier system to travel.

The ride-sharing platform allows people with cars to offer rides to others. While there is not a large financial incentive as it is illegal to charge for the ride itself, there is a social and environmental incentive.

Moreover, it does allow people to share the cost of fuel, tolls and other expenses, which plays a role in reducing costs for both parties.

The carpooling system therefore relies upon the drivers’ goodwill and consciousness to reduce their carbon footprint and join in the sustainability efforts.

The department of transport has also increased the number of bus routes to make travelling easier for its residents and visitors.

However, given its limitations people mostly rely on cars or taxis to travel in the city.

The online system allows people to offer car lifts to strangers, as well as form closed private groups of friends and work colleagues to coordinate travel. This has the potential to play a role in reducing stress, strengthening social ties, improving workplace relations, as well as help people save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

The online system also gives people the flexibility to choose their preferred language, vehicle’s comfort level, whether they are okay or not with smoking as well as transport of animals in the cars.

This will come as a relief to many pet owners who do not drive or have cars, as they now have an option to seek a ride via this platform. Public taxis and buses, nor Uber or Careem taxis allow pets to be transported as per multiple interviews with drivers.