New digital touch screen parking meter machine opposite the Jafiliya metro station, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Motorists using Dubai’s new smart parking meters can now save themselves the hassle of walking back to their cars to display parking tickets on the dashboard as the new meters issue e-tickets.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) recently launched a set of new smart parking meters, as a pilot project, which if approved is likely to upgrade all meters across the city.

The new touchscreen-enabled meters have been installed at Al Jafiliya, next to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) headquarters in Dubai, as part of the RTA’s Smart Dubai project.

The new meters require the users to key in the vehicle plate number before selecting the payment method. Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

In a statement to Gulf News, RTA said: “The project is part of the vision of ‘Smart Dubai’. RTA has introduced this pilot project and we shall announce further updates in due course of time.”

Unlike the old meters, the new meters require the users to key in the vehicle plate number along with the duration of parking, before selecting the payment method which could be made either through coins or card.

Once the payment is made, the machine issues a paper receipt and an e-ticket. The paper receipt is only for the user’s reference and need not be placed on the vehicle’s dashboard.

The paper receipt need not be placed on the dashboard.

Ticket cannot be shared

With vehicle details entered into the meter, the new system ensures a parking ticket is used only for one car and cannot be shared with any other vehicle.

Until now, the e-tickets were issued only when parking payment was made using mParking or RTA’s app, which also require keying in vehicle plate number and also allow renewal digitally.

“I am not sure if this is good or bad for motorists. It saves one the hassle of walking back to the car, which is good in places where meters are a bit far, particularly in this weather. But, there is an extra step of putting in vehicle plate number now, which kind of restricts the use of parking tickets to only one vehicles,” said Akbar Ali, a resident of Al Jafiliya.

Another motorist said that he hopes the e-tickets could be renewed through mParking or smart apps.

Since this is only a pilot project, it is not yet clear whether using smart meters for initial parking payment will allow motorists to renew using smart platforms.

As part of its continuous efforts in adopting smart technologies, the RTA earlier this year also launched smart parking scanners.

The smart devices equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) features were launched to monitor Dubai’s paid parking zones.

Mounted on the RTA’s parking inspection vehicles, the smart scanners will help better monitor and enforce parking payment across the city.

Equipped with the new system, parking inspectors will just have to drive around the different parking zones in the city and the scanners will automatically detect vehicles with expired parking tickets.

The system is expected to help reduce human error and reduce disputes involving parking fines.

Parking payment options

Parking payment can be made using six different methods including coins, prepaid card, seasonal parking cards, mParking, Nol card and smart parking.

Using coin is the simplest way to buy a parking ticket from the nearest paid parking meter.

Another option is to use prepaid parking cards, which are now going out of favour, with the advent of Nol cards and other smarter options.

The prepaid parking cards are available at supermarkets and grocery stores in denominations of Dh30 and Dh100. The ticket amount is deducted from the balance on the card when inserted into its slot on the machine.

Motorists can also buy seasonal parking cards valid for different zones for three months, six months and one year.

Apart from paying at the meters, motorists can also use mParking which allows payment through SMS to 7275. Mobile payment can also be made through RTA’s smart phone app.

Parking fees vary from zone to zone ranging from Dh2 for the first hour to Dh10.