Dubai: Most big parking lots in the Tecom-developed areas of Dubai Internet City, Knowledge Village and Dubai Media City, where paid parking was introduced last month, will be reserved for permit holders, a senior Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official said.
Since the three areas are part of the privately developed neighbourhoods, where regular parking permits don’t work, RTA has begun issuing special seasonal parking permits that are applicable only in the three business parks, however, according to the eligibility criteria set by Tecom, Knowledge Village students won’t be issued the permits.
“We have already received more than 200 applications and we have begun issuing the permits. Anyone who wants to apply for the permits needs to bring an NOC from Tecom, without which we don’t issue the permits,” said Adel Al Marzouqi, Director of Parking at RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.
On-street paid parking system was introduced in the three areas on January 15, while off-street parking lots will be covered from March 16.
Interestingly, in the three Tecom developed business parks, people parking indoors - basements and multi-storey parkings - will also be charged, beginning March 16.
Payment for on-street or roadside parking could be made through coins, nol or mParking, however, the most of the big parking lots, basement and multistorey parking will be reserved for parking permit holders only.
“From March 16 we will start issuing fines to anyone who parks in the lots without the permit. We are putting up signs to inform people if a particular lot is reserved for permit holders only,” Al Marzouqi said.
The reservation system will mean people will be fined for parking in the lots without the permits, even though they have paid parking fees.
The system will add to the misery of the students at Knowledge Village who won’t be issued parking permits and are already suffering.
Currently, students coming for their classes and people working in the area are having a tough time either shuttling between classes and parking lots or reminding themselves to send an sms for mParking every hour.
“It is very difficult to concentrate in classes, because all the time I’m worried about fines. It is also not possible to go out after every class to purchase a ticket. It will be good if they issue permits for us students as well,” said Sonia Khanna, a psychology student in Knowledge Village.
Commenting on the parking system, Badr Al Gergawi, CEO of Engineering Management at Tecom Investments, said: “Parking by card is only available in designated areas. This will be a mix of indoor and outdoor parking and these areas will be clearly highlighted by signage.”
He added that the implementation of the new parking management system will help reduce congestion in peak hours and provides priority to tenants in TECOM buildings who are trying to access the facilities made specifically available to them.
When asked why cards are not issued to individuals and students he said: “Cards are issued to businesses who can allocate them to their employees as they see fit. The RTA will not put an individual’s name on the cards so these can be used flexibly by various employees within a business.”
He added that various public transport modes are available for students including, buses and Metro, which is just a seven-minute walk away.
Prices for the special permits called T Cards are similar to those of A Cards.
Adding to the misery of motorists, the authorities have closed entry to all unpaved lots, where people used to park due to severe shortage of parking space.
“It’s totally insane, there is no space to park even if I want to pay. There were a few empty lots where people used to park because of lack of proper parking space and now they have closed these lots,” said a hassled motorist.
Following the conversion of the three Tecom areas into paid parking zones, all indications suggest that more privately developed areas are likely to be converted soon.
“It [conversion] depends on the request of the developer. Once we get a request we study and survey the area and see if it needs to be controlled. Currently we are studying some more areas and if we see a need we will expand the system further,” said Al Marzouqi.
Apart from privately developed areas, many other areas are being converted across Dubai with the recent addition being parts of Hor Al Anz, Al Nahda, Al Barsha, Al Sufouh, etc, some of which, residents claim, are purely residential areas.
However, RTA insists that the paid parking system helps people save time and reduces congestion.
From a mere 3,000 parking lots just over a decade ago, currently more than 100,000 spaces have been converted into paid parking zones.