s Mawaqif paid parking at the Al Wahda area on airport road in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: More than 26,000 new paid parking spaces will be added across the capital city from August 18, a senior transport official said on Tuesday.

The Department of Transport is implementing paid parking system across Abu Dhabi island in a bid to organise parking options across the city.

“We expect that neighbourhoods throughout Abu Dhabi island will become better organised, with fewer parking troubles for residents,” Khamees Al Dahmani, head of the Mawaqif parking team at the department, told Gulf News.

He was speaking at a media briefing held to discuss the upcoming changes in parking regulations. As Gulf News reported last month, all parking spaces across Abu Dhabi island will become paid from August 18. The move aims to reduce instances of improper parking and ensure the smoother flow of traffic.

On Tuesday, Al Dahmani clarified that parking rates will remain the same — Dh2 per hour for standard parking spaces and Dh3 per hour for a maximum of four hours for premium parking. At the same time, motorists can pay Dh15 to park for a whole day anywhere in the city.

“Parking across Abu Dhabi island, from the Corniche up until Al Maqta, Shaikh Zayed and Musaffah bridges, will be paid, with the exception of spaces in the Embassies area,” the official clarified.

No more kerb markings

“The other main change will be that motorists will not be able to refer to kerb markings as an indicator of a paid parking space. When Mawaqif was first implemented in 2009, residents were not aware of the paid parking system, and it was a phased introduction of paid parking across neighbourhoods. This is why kerbs were painted to indicate that a parking bay was paid,” Al Dahmani said.

Now, instead of turquoise-and-black markings indicating a standard parking space, or turquoise-and-white markings for premium parking, signboards will be erected to differentiate between the different kinds of parking spaces. While all parking bays will be paid, signboards — and not turquoise road markings — will also indicate which ones are reserved for residents of the neighbourhood between 9pm and 8am. The signage will be erected at access ways into every neighbourhood.

Since the introduction of paid parking in Abu Dhabi nine years ago, spaces have been converted into paid parking bays sector by sector, starting from the busiest areas in downtown Abu Dhabi. The department also set up parking structures in various neighbourhoods to further ease the parking shortage. The same rates apply to parking within these structures.

Residential parking permits

There are still a number of neighbourhoods where motorists can park free of charge until August 18, such as Al Mushrif and Al Karama. Parking in these areas, which mainly consist of residential units within villas or five-storey apartment buildings, will soon become paid, and Al Dahmani therefore urged expatriate tenants to obtain residential parking permits.

These annual permits, which cost Dh800 for the first car and Dh1,200 for the second, allow expat tenants and property owners, as well as their first-degree relatives living in the same home, to park free of charge near their homes. A maximum of two permits are issued per expat residence, specific to the vehicle and the sector where the residence is located.

On the other hand, Emiratis living in apartments can apply for up to four free residential permits following approval obtained from the department.

Villa parking

Despite the changes, Emiratis living in villas will continue to be able to park free of charge. In another new initiative, they will also be able to apply for free parking for guests who are staying the night for up to eight hours after midnight, Al Dahmani added.

“They must send an SMS with the required details, and this will provide a night’s free parking for the guest’s vehicle,” the official said.