Is paid parking the right route?
Traffic congestion will ease during peak times, says RTA.
April 29, 2013 6:55 by Muhammad Aldalou
If you live in, commute through or work in Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Knowledge Village, then you will have noticed the rather extreme transformation of the parking lots. Since the paid parking system began its implementation process, the normally busy and buzzing lots have transformed into half-empty ghost-like areas.
Earlier this week, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) released a statement saying that the payment system in the three aforementioned neighbouring areas is now completely in place. To complicate matters further, some of the parking lots are classified differently and the fees are payable through text messages, silver and blue Nol cards, prepaid cards and coins. However, there are also reserved parking spaces designated for employees holding periodical memberships or passes.
In fact, the epidemic of the paid parking system has spread to residential areas, such as Jumeirah Lake Towers as well. An article in Emirates247 suggests that developers in JLT have lately started offering landlords the chance to purchase a parking spot for a rumoured AED50,000 – but there is no price cap – so it could be higher. Failing that, one can rent an additional space for Dh4,500 for a 12 month-period, D2,500 for a six month-period and Dh1,500 for a three month-period.
Kipp finds little sense in this – not that the previous state of parking was entirely functional, as more often than not you’d have a higher chance of finding a dancing mermaid than a parking space – but is the current alternative any better?
Maitha bin Udai, the CEO of RTA Traffic and Roads Agency, insists the move will have a positive bearing on the business community in the area, as it will ‘ease the traffic congestion at peak hours’ as well as prioritise the needs of employees.
“Streamlining the parking slots in this area aims to provide more effective solutions to cope with the growing traffic movement,” she said. Fair enough, but those same employees still have to shell out the cash to park, don’t they? And to make matters worse, those seasonal cards they pay for aren’t valid in other free zone areas where you pay-as-you-park.
She stressed that the RTA would book traffic violators who use the reserved parking areas, adding that the seasonal cards issued for the public parking were not valid for use in the free zone area.
All of this ambiguity and additional payment reminds Kipp of Dubai four years ago. When real estate price escalated to dangerously inflated levels, parking was the first causality. Over-charging for parking without the rationale or advantage of improving road congestion just reflects poorly on Dubai. Let’s hope the decision makers realise that before it’s too late.
Have you managed to secure your own parking slot? If not, what alternative have you taken – or have you resorted to leaving your car at home?