Abu Dhabi: Residents will be expected to abide by new rules as Abu Dhabi switches to a new paid parking schedule that is to be enforced immediately after the Eid Al Fitr holidays.
“Extending the paid parking hours until midnight will result in a more efficient utilisation of parking space, so it can be beneficial to a bigger number of users,” said Mohammad Nasser Al Otaiba, general manager of Mawaqif at the Department of Transport.
“Since the launch of Mawaqif and within a short period, we achieved a noticeable improvement in the usage of parking spaces; [this has] positively impacted the lives of visitors and residents in Abu Dhabi. Also, we received positive feedback in areas where Mawaqif has been implemented,” Al Otaiba added in an earlier statement.
With the month of Ramadan drawing to a close, residents gave mixed signals on the impending change in the paid parking schedule.
Some residents felt the two-hour paid parking extension hardly helped those wanting to go for a drive in the evenings since they were unlikely to find parking spaces when they returned. “My outings are highly determined by parking availability,” said Hassan Abu Jamei, 26, a petrophysicist.
“Parking is not easier because of the reduced number of possible parking spaces in a given area relative to the way it was before the implementation of the Mawaqif system. It is much more difficult for shoppers and visitors as well” he added.
Those with parking permits were not as concerned about the change of timings but were hoping to find more spaces once the transition takes place.
“I have a full-day permit worth Dh15, so these changes do not really affect me,” said Palestinian resident Mohammad Fateh Allah, 24, who works as a product specialist. “On the contrary, I believe that the changes will make a positive difference and save a lot of time for me to find a spot. Besides, others will only have to pay a few extra dirhams.”
Others such as N.S, 25, said that a concerted public information campaign would help in a smoother transition. “If you happen to miss the announcement, you have to hear it through word of mouth which is rarely accurate. I think this is why many people get bothered,” she added.
Samer Ebrahim Haddad, who parks his car far from his house in an area where parking is free, said the changes were unlikely to affect him much. “I am lucky that my university does not have paid parking. But on days that I used to pay Dh6, I will now pay Dh10 and despite that sounding like a small amount, the difference is big especially since many machines do not accept quarters and halves which keeps me constantly low on change,” said Samer Ebrahim Haddad, 21, a university student from Iraq.
— With inputs by Tamara Suleiman, intern at Gulf News
Old parking timings (before Ramadan)
8am to 10pm
New parking timings
8am to 12 midnight — Saturday to Thursday
Free parking on Fridays and public holidays