Dubai: Almost all parking meters in Dubai have started accepting the new Dh1 coins as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) completes upgrading the meters by the end of this month. However, motorists in many areas of Abu Dhabi will have to wait until June for upgrades to be completed while there is no update for the parking meters in Sharjah, Gulf News has learnt.
Motorists have been having difficulties as the new Dh1 coin, which is smaller and thinner in dimension, was rejected by the meters, forcing people to look for alternatives.
Adel Al Marzouqi, Director of Parking at RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency, said that as many as 4,000 meters have been upgraded over the past two months and the handful remaining will be done in the next few days.
“Most of the meters already accept the new coins. We started with the busier areas and by the end of this month we will complete updating all meters,” said Al Marzouqi.
Areas like Deira Fish Market, Al Ras, Gold Souq, Al Karama, Satwa, Al Ghusais, Naif, etc, that have a high population density were given preference and the newer areas with less demand are being done currently done.
“The upgrading of the meter is a simple task but needs time as each and every meter has to be individually updated. In every machine there is a coin reader, that reads the characteristics of the coins, which has to be removed and connected to computers to upgrade the software,” explained Al Marzouqi.
He added that in case a motorist comes across a non-updated meter, alternative payment modes like Nol card and mParking can be used.
In Abu Dhabi, the Department of Transport (Dot) said that the project to upgrade the parking meters to accept the new one dirham coins will be completed before the end of June.
So far, DoT has completed 11 sectors that are most congested such as the Central Business District (CBD), hospitals and government buildings.
Some residents have already found alternatives and remain unaffected by these changes.
While many drivers have registered with the Mawaqif mobile service where payment can be made through their mobile phones, other use the Mawaqif cards and other alternative methods.
“Initially I faced some problems with the new coins not being accepted in addition to the fact that not having change creates a hassle. So I purchased the Dh100 card and I usually keep it in my car so I do not use coins at all,” said 53-year-old Subodh K. Vashisht, an Indian manager at an automobile company.
Meanwhile, other drivers who continue to use conventional methods have found a significant improvement since the upgrade.
Anwar Hussain who works and lives in Al Muroor Road near Mushrif Mall where paid parking is not implemented only faced the challenge of dealing with the old parking meters when he visited the inner city.
“When I used to visit friends and family members in the city I would have to hurry to grocery stores and restaurants to ask for change while ensuring that the coins they gave me were not the new dirhams. Fortunately, I do not have to do that any more since the area near Hamdan Centre which I most often visit has been upgraded so parking meters are capable of issuing a parking slip with no difficulties,” the 30-year-old finance executive told Gulf News.
Still, residents said that alternative methods were not foolproof as the Mawaqif website through which many pay for their parking space sometimes crashes, and Mawaqif pre-paid cards have occasionally failed to do their job.
Information on the progress of upgrades of Sharjah parking meters was not available, however, motorists continue to face problems with most meters not accepting the new coins.