While all spaces appear taken up, some motorists search for space to park their cars in Abu Dhabi’s Khalidiya area near Zayed 2nd street. The capital’s new Mawaqif parking system has so far failed to solve residents’ parking woes. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Parking woes continue to disrupt the lives of Abu Dhabi residents so much that some are planning their entire days around finding a vacant spot.

According to residents, finding parking space has become such a serious problem that it requires attention. Collecting fees alone is not a solution. A block that has three buildings with 145 apartments in total, has 22 assigned parking spots. That leaves about 130 residents without any allotted parking space.

When Gulf News spoke to residents about the new approach to parking, almost all said they were unsatisfied about the new Mawaqif parking system.

"Rules are well enforced and the authorities never hesitate to ticket violators. But not all tickets are just and fair," said I.S., a resident of Khalidiya, who received two tickets last month while legally parked in a zone designated to her block.

"I paid the first ticket because I didn't have time to debate it. But the second was not tolerable. When I confronted the Mawaqif attendant, he told me that my car was not registered in the system," I.S. claimed.

Endless form-filling

"A trip to the Mawaqif office was equally fruitless. After 90 minutes of waiting, the attendant confirmed that my car was indeed registered but nothing could be done about the ticket except to fill a form of a formal complaint. I was told I will get a call -back soon but no one called me back and so I had to pay again, unfairly," she added.

Another resident in the same area added: "After ten days abroad, I returned to find five tickets for being illegally parked, I went to Mawaqif's office and explained that my registration with them doesn't expire until September. They gave me five forms for complaints."

The parking system has become intolerable, according to Hana, another Khalidiya resident.

"I now have to give serious thought to how and when I use my car," she said. "I must now plan my return in time to find a parking spot. My family and friends don't want to visit often because parking has become a serious issue."

Hadi, another resident mentioned that "after a long day at work, sometimes I go around the block 10-12 times without luck".

"Most often, I have to go to the Corniche to park. That means a long walk back home and an additional expense of about Dh 2-3 per hour," he said.

"I paid Dh800 for a permit to park where I live but Mawaqif cannot get me a spot, " he claimed.

Meanwhile, resident Khalid, said: "I worry about parking problems at home and at work. My office is in the Electra area. Residents there illegally put cones to block parking spots, so we cannot park to get to the office."

S.T., another user of the system is appealing for Mawaqif to build more parking areas to accommodate him and his guests, especially after 9pm when they are not allowed to park around the building where he lives. He is also hoping that Mawaqif can sell the prepaid parking cards at the gas stations.

"I don't even find parking at the Mawaqif office," he said. "After running around for over 15 minutes I finally found a vacant spot but before I could back into it, another car forced its way in.

Despite several requests Mawaqif did not comment.

Noble intentions

Mawaqif is an integrated programme for the management of parking in Abu Dhabi.

The Department of Transport (DoT) had introduced Mawaqif in 2009 as part of its strategic plan to find the best possible solutions for transport and traffic-related issues, and parking in particular.