Abu Dhabi road toll registration woes persist, motorists claim

Motorists have reported difficulties signing up to Abu Dhabi's new road tolls system online, days before the gates are switched on. Some users have complained of the website loading slowly or not at all, while others who were able to sign up said they were confused about how to top up their accounts. When The National attempted to sign up on Tuesday afternoon, the registration process did not work, with the website freezing at the point when it asked for an email address.

While Abu Dhabi motorists should have their details registered on to the system for free, those from other emirates need to sign up themselves and pay a Dh100 fee. Previously, there have been complaints that users do not receive codes through text messages that they need to fully register their vehicles. It was originally announced that the toll gates would be switched on in October, with motorists being charged in peak as well as off peak hours.

However, the roll out was put back until January 2, and as part of a further overhaul the Dh4 fee will apply Saturday to Thursday at 7-9am and 5-7pm only. Rene Sendon Villanueva, writing on The National's Facebook page, said the less frequent charges was "great news". However, she added: "They have to work out the online registration process ... up to now it is still not working."

Another motorist, Hafeez Afridi, said he had made a complaint about the lack of a functioning website and registration system. Others have said there is a lack of information on how to register commercial vehicles or those from other GCC countries, with the process currently needing an Emirates ID number. Replying to motorists online, the Integrated Transport Center advised those having trouble registering to try again another time or to call its customer happiness centre directly.

Information on commercial vehicles will be published "soon". The new system will be similar to Dubai's Salik system, in that number plates will be automatically scanned and fees debited from user's accounts. However, Abu Dhabi and Dubai toll charges will operate separately, meaning motorists travelling in both emirates will need separate accounts.

Authorities in Abu Dhabi have said they hope introducing the toll charges will encourage greater use of public transport and carpooling.

"The tollgate system encourages the general public to utilise Abu Dhabi's public transport network, to reduce the use of private vehicles, and to encourage carpooling by individuals working within the same organisation or even the same family," a statement by the Department of Transport said when the tolls were announced.

"The tollgate system encourages individuals to plan their time ahead which has a positive impact on sustainability of the transport sector and helps to better maintain infrastructure and the environment."

Updated: December 24, 2019 04:21 PM

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