Abu Dhabi: Mawaqif will be extending the paid parking hours by two to three hours to midnight from the current 9pm or 10 pm, immediately after Eid Al Fitr holidays, a senior official said on Monday.
Mohammad Nasser Al Otaiba, general manager of Mawaqif at the Department of Transport, said from that date on residents will also be given a grace period of one month from the date of expiry of their permits, to get these permits renewed.
Al Otaiba said extending the paid parking hours until midnight will result in more efficient utilisation of parking spaces, so they can benefit a bigger number of Mawaqif users.
“This would also support commercial activities in these areas, while enabling residents and visitors to find dedicated parking spaces after 9pm,” Al Otaiba added.
Many residents, particularly in Khalidiya and Tourist Club areas, complain they spend up to two hours finding parking space.
They questioned the legality of being charged for a non-guaranteed service.
Mira Al Qasim, a columnist, said: “Why do we have to pay for a non-guaranteed service, which only lucky people get?”
Al Qasim demanded that parking tickets be suspended until multi-story parking buildings are built to provide enough spaces for drivers to park their cars.
Haytham Abdul Wahab, a long-time resident, said: “We are fighting with our neighbours over parking spaces. This thing has destroyed our social life! I never thought seriously about moving out of Abu Dhabi city before this Mawaqif came in.”
Sharon and Movin DSouza complained that although parking is supposedly for residents only, there are several mini buses, pickup trucks and other vehicles which are occupying parking slots.
Mawaqif general manger said the department have already added up to 6,000 parking spaces over the last two years and plans are to add 14,000 more parking spaces over the next five years.
“Up to 2016, the department plans to build five temporary steel structure parkings with 150 to 250 parking spaces each and a multi-storey parking building with 1,200 parking spaces will be constructed in Najda, Salam and Zayed the First streets. We’ve also rented out a huge plot of land in Khalidiya, providing 1,200 parking spaces,” Al Otaiba said.
Al Otaiba promised residents in the Tourist Club area that once the scheme is fully enforced in the area, it will be easier for drivers to find parking spaces.
“Right now the problem is caused because the paid parking system is softly implemented and tickets are being given to only people to park illegally, but the spaces are still free of charge, which attract other people to compete with residents over spaces.”