Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Dubai: If you are heading to Abu Dhabi today, free public parking in the Emirate has now been moved from Friday to Sunday, according to an announcement by Abu Dhabi’s transport authority, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), on July 10.

Also, if you pass through the Darb toll gate, you will now be charged from Monday to Saturday and the toll gate will be free on Sundays.

Since the schedule has changed, here is all you need to know about the paid parking system - MAWAQiF, and the Darb toll gate system in Abu Dhabi.

Why have the timings changed?

This new decision is in line with the UAE’s new weekend, which is now Saturday and Sunday, and has been in effect since January 1, 2022.

According to a statement by ICP, the decision to change the schedule comes in line with the requirements of the transport sector and enhances the streamlining and mobility of traffic during weekday peak hours, facilitates traffic flow, and improves safety levels on the emirate’s roads.


Parking in Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi, you may notice that there are two types of parking spaces. The two parking types are:

  • Premium parking or residential permit parking (indicated by a blue and white curb or sign )
  • Standard parking (indicated by a blue and black curb)

Can a visitor park in a residential parking space in Abu Dhabi?

It is also important to note that there are residential parking areas, which cannot be used by non-residents during certain parts of the day. According to ITC, resident parking spaces are part of the standard parking spaces located in residential areas. They are marked with a blue line or with ‘Resident Permit Only’ MAWAQiF signage.

In these residential areas, parking spaces can be used only by those with the resident parking permit during the night – from 9pm to 8am every day. To know more about how to apply for parking permit in Abu Dhabi, read our detailed guide here.

However, for the rest of the day, non-permit holders can use these parking spaces after paying the parking fees.

Parking timings in Abu Dhabi

On Sunday, standard parking is free but non-permit holders are not allowed to park in residents' parking spaces after 9pm.

Premium parking is paid from 8am to 12am, Saturday to Thursday. On Sunday, premium parking is free.


These are the fees for public parking in Abu Dhabi, as per ITC:

Standard: Dh2 per hour
Cars in standard parking areas are only allowed to park their card for a maximum of four hours.

Premium: Dh3 per hour
You can park your car for a maximum of 24 hours.

Darb toll gate

If you have just shifted to Abu Dhabi or are visiting the Emirate, and are passing through the Darb toll gate, you will need to register for the toll gate system.

You can register your vehicle through the official Darb website - and create an account. For a step-by-step guide on how to sign up for the Darb toll gate platform, click here.

In the announcement, ITC informed that the Darb toll gate system fees will be applicable from Monday to Saturday, and will be free on Sundays in addition to public holidays.


Each crossing is charged at Dh4, with a daily cap of Dh16 for private vehicles. This means that if you cross the gates more than four times in a day, you will only be charged a maximum of Dh16. Charges are not levied on Sundays and public holidays.

Darb toll gate timings:

The toll gate is only operational during rush hour and the timings for the Darb toll gate are between 7am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm.


There are four toll gates in Abu Dhabi:

1. Sheikh Zayed Bridge
2. Sheikh Khalifa Bridge
3. Mussafah Bridge
4. Al Maqta'a Bridge