Dubai: Worshippers rushing to the mosques following iftar can breathe a sigh of relief as they get a grace of 45 minutes from the time of Maghrib Azaan (dusk prayers), Gulf News can confirm.
A Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) spokesperson told Gulf News that worshippers will not get fines for parking around the mosque for 45 minutes after the time of iftar, which coincides with Maghrib Azaan.
The statement comes following suggestions by motorists to move the free parking hours around the iftar time.
Paid parking hours in Dubai for Ramadan are split from 8am to 5pm and 7pm to 12 midnight, with a break from 5pm to 7pm.
Speaking Gulf News, an RTA spokesperson said that the timing for the break hours was decided following thorough studies and cannot be moved.
“The break for paid parking from 5pm to 7pm was decided according to technical studies and user behaviour during the last year,” said the spokesperson in a statement.
However, he added: “Generally we give a chance (grace period) of 45 minutes after Azaan in the parking spaces surrounding the mosques. Inspectors start their duties following the prayers after breaking their fast.”
The RTA has urged the motorists to park only in the designated places as blocking the way or parking on the pavements and other undesignated places would continue to attract fines.
Speaking to Gulf News, several motorists suggested that the free parking hours are oddly placed and should be moved after iftar.
“I think having the free hours from 5pm to 7pm don’t make sense. It is the time when everyone in the city is at home. It would be better there is free parking after iftar, between 7pm and 9pm,” said Mohammad Faheem.
Another resident, Abu Mohammad, also echoed Faheem’s point of view.
“Having free parking after iftar makes more sense, that is when most people need the parking spaces. People shouldn’t have to pay parking fees to pray in the mosques,” said Abu Mohammad, a resident of Hor Al Anz.
Welcoming RTA’s move to allow a grace period of 45 minutes, Mohammad Siraj, a resident of Al Rigga, called on the RTA to extend the grace period for Taraweeh (special night prayers for Ramadan) also.
“There should be some arrangement for worshippers to park around the mosques for free during Taraweeh, without having to bother about paying the fees. It is not fair on the worshippers to pay Dh8 every day to park and pray,” said Siraj.
Last year, the RTA introduced new parking times stretching from 8am to 10pm, doing away with the midday break. The timing for Ramadan also remained the same.
However, this year after the studies showed a demand, the authorities introduced a break.