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A motorist enters the Zabeel paid parking zone. Paid parking will be operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Image Credit:

Dubai: Visiting Dubai’s Zabeel Park, including the popular tourist attractions Dubai Frame and Dubai Garden Glow situated inside the facility, has become costlier after Dubai Municipality introduced a paid parking system for visitors.

Parking entry gates and cabins have been installed at all gates of Zabeel Park. Visitors can either pay for the day or purchase access cards with monthly packages.

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Ahmed Ibrahim Al Zarouni, director of Parks and Recreational Facilities Department at the municipality told Gulf News that the civic body introduced the paid parking system in the park located in the heart of the city to avoid people from the nearby areas misusing the parking slots.

He and a representative of the private agency managing the parking answered the following questions posed by Gulf News.

How much is the parking fee?

Under the new gated parking, visitors can enjoy free parking for the first 20 minutes. After that they need to pay Dh10 for the rest of the day, irrespective of the duration of parking, said Al Zarouni.

There is a monthly access card for Dh120 for joggers. It was Dh150 in the beginning and was reduced to Dh120 following the requests from joggers, said the parking management company.

Another monthly access card of Dh200 is available for residents in the area using the park. “Those who are parking their cars for going to work or home, can use this card which gives unlimited access for a month for Dh200. They can park 24x7.”

Where is it implemented?

“This has been implemented across all the areas under the park based on the customers’ suggestions as the residents around the park misused the public park’s parking lots,” said Al Zarouni.

How did they misuse the parking areas?

“They occupied the free parking to avoid paying the parking fees in their areas, without taking into consideration that this parking is dedicated for the Zabeel Park visitors. Meanwhile, our investors also complained about some business areas around Zabeel Park also being misused. The paid parking system had to be implemented across all the areas of the park because of the same reason.”

Which are those areas?

Spanning over an area of 52 hectares, Zabeel Park is divided into A, B and C zones which are connected by two suspended bridges for pedestrians and a park metro train.

Do visitors to Dubai Frame and Dubai Garden Glow also have to pay the Dh10 parking fee?

Yes, it’s applicable to visitors to Dubai Frame and Dubai Garden Glow parking their vehicles in the Zabeel Park parking areas.

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Dubai Municipality has introduced new paid parking system at Zabeel Park in Dubai. The parking will be operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

What are joggers saying?

Dubai residents, who regularly use the jogging track at Zabeel Park are unhappy about the move. Joggers, who come in their vehicles and park their cars in the park’s parking slots, say they should be exempted from the Dh10 parking fee. “I jog at least two to three times around Zabeel Park. I was shocked to see the parking gates and paid parking for Dh10,” said Nasreen Abdulla. “It has become worthless to go to the park for jogging as just one round in the park takes around 15 minutes for me and the parking is free for only 20 minutes.”

Though the municipality said on Twitter that joggers can talk to the parking management for a special arrangement for them, she said the offer was for the monthly card. “The security guard told me to go for a monthly parking card which is cheaper. This is a public park. The municipality should be encouraging the residents to make the best use of the park for exercising and keeping Dubai a city of fit and healthy residents. Parking should be made free for joggers.”

In reply to complaints from joggers who are upset about the move, DM has replied on Twitter that some special arrangement has been made for joggers. What is that?

“We received their complaints. Unfortunately, it [the paid parking] applies to all who are parking their vehicles in the park’s parking areas. But we are working with the parking management company to sort out the issue and give a reasonable rate for the joggers,” said Al Zarouni.

Has DM introduced a similar system in any other park?

“No. DM has introduced the parking system only in Zabeel Park.”

Is DM planning to make parking lots in other parks also paid parking?

“There is no such plan as of now. But, we might consider it if the parking slots are misused and it affects our visitors’ happiness.”

How about Garden Glow visitors?

Visitors to Dubai Garden Glow, which is located in Area B of Zabeel Park, are also unhappy with the paid parking. Visitors have been requesting the Garden Glow management to exempt them from the paid parking.

Chanchal Samanta, founder and director of Dubai Garden Glow told Gulf News that the management has taken up the concerns of the visitors with the municipality. “We are in discussion with the municipality to see if visitors to Garden Glow can get free parking. We hope a favourable decision would be taken soon.”

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Dubai Municipality has introduced new paid parking system at Zabeel Park in Dubai. The parking will be operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Additional burden to visitors

Though paid parking has been introduced to ensure people, who are not visitors to the park, are not misusing the parking areas, the Dh10 parking fee has become an additional burden to park visitors.

Dubai resident J.G, who visited the park with family, said the paid parking was an unexpected move. “There should be some mechanism from exempting visitors to the park and other facilities in the park from the parking fee. The security guards can give us a stamp for exempting us from paying for parking,” he suggested.

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A sign board showing the parking rates for motorists visiting Zabeel Park, Dubai Frame and Dubai Garden Glow. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

What is the entrance fee at Zabeel Park?

The entrance fee to Zabeel Park is Dh5 per entrant (payment via RTA-issued Nol Card)

Free entry for people of determination and children less than two years of age.

Visitors to Dubai Frame have also been exempted from paying additional fee to enter Zabeel Park.

What is the entrance fee at Dubai Frame?

Dh50 for adults and Dh20 for children (3-12 years)

Free entry for infants (children under three years), people of determination and two companions.

What is the entrance fee at Dubai Garden Glow?

Dh65 per entrant including 5% VAT for (Dinosaur Park + Glow Park)

Free entry for children up to the age of three years of age.