Pay more: Aiken, a 22-year old student of Knowledge Village uses the newly installed parking meter in the area xpress/ Anjana Kumar Image Credit: Anjana Kumar/XPRESS

Dubai: Carol Rodrigues, a 22 year-old second year psychology student at Middlesex University in Knowledge Village has just incurred a new personal expense - Dh400 a month for parking.

“I am paying Dh20 a day since Monday (January 28) for parking my vehicle here near my college in Knowledge Village. I am a second year student of psychology and come here every day except on weekends. Living in Abu Dhabi, I already spend heavily on petrol. Now, parking fees will be an added expenditure,” she told XPRESS.

Carol is not alone. Hundreds of people working and studying in Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and the Dubai Knowledge Village started paying parking fees this week, owing to a new move by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to relieve parking congestion in these areas.

Huda, a Moroccan student at Eton University in Knowledge Village, said she will have to start shelling out Dh16 a day to park her four-wheel drive near the college. “Apart from the cost, we have to remember to pay the fees even when we are studying, otherwise we risk being fined. ”

Aiken Geovic Fonseca, 20, a second year Advertising, Public Relations and Media student at Middlesex University, said students must get subsidised rates as parents are already paying heavily for college fees.

Officegoers in Internet City and Media City have also started to feel the burden of this additional cost. They also fear that paying for parking will not guarantee them a slot close to their offices since there is a massive demand for parking in these areas.

In a circular warning companies and colleges in the free-zone areas, RTA said it started implementing its new parking system from January 15. It will activate parking meters on all streets in phases including any off-street parking, reserved parking, basement and multi-storey reserved parking in the Tecom areas. The RTA plans to complete all activation by March 15.

Parking fee timings in Dubai Media City, Internet City and Knowledge Village will be from 8am to 6pm on weekdays (Saturday to Thursday). Cost to a Tecom employee in the area will be around Dh24 a day – assuming he is working for 10 hours (Dh2 for 1 hour, Dh5 for two hours, Dh8 for three hours, Dh11 for 4 hours).

“My life is going to become miserable,” said Y.I., a Dubai based journalist working in Media City. “My timings are erratic. I come to the office at 6am and leave late at night. This is a very big expense. There has to be some way out.”

Ahmad, another journalist working in Media City and living in The Gardens, has decided to commute to work by the Metro. “Apart from the fact that I will have to shell out a considerable amount every day for parking, there is no guarantee that I will get it or if I will get it close to my office. Until summer sets in I plan to use the Metro. After that I will eventually have to cough up the additional expenses.”

Clearly the RTA’s move has not gone down well with office goers. But the RTA is certain it will relieve the congestion at peak hours.

“The new parking move has been done to provide a solution to the growing demand for parking in the areas. It follows legitimate concerns raised by a number of our valued business partners about the availability of parking in areas allocated for their companies and employees. The implementation of the new parking management system will provide priority to business partners in Tecom buildings when trying to access the facilities made specifically available to them,” RTA’s circular says.

Meanwhile, the RTA has already started placing flyers on vehicles parked in the Media City, Internet City and Knowledge Village areas.

Companies have been asked to contact Tecom offices to ascertain the parking spaces allotted to them. Season parking cards A and B will not be valid in the areas. The multi-level parking buildings in these areas will also be paid-parking.

While the ground and first floor levels will be charged, the upper floors have been designated for Tecom Investments permit holders.