SHARJAH // Motorists queued at the Sharjah Traffic Department and car registration office yesterday as they sought to take advantage of a 50 per cent discount on all fines from traffic offences.
Last year's traffic offenders in Sharjah and Ajman were offered the discount if payment was made from January until the end of April.
The discounts were announced by last week, and yesterday was the first day of implementation.
"The turnout was so huge that queues stretched to the roads out of the traffic departments," said Capt Mohammed Rashid Al Shehhi. "We want to tell motorists that the offer is open until the end of April and not just for one day or a week."
He said that many motorists who had failed to renew their licence because of non-payment of fines also turned up in large numbers, and the emirate's car registration unit, Tasjeel, was extraordinarily busy.
He said police were doubling up their efforts to deal with the demand. He said all traffic police departments in other regions, like Al Dhaid, could process the discounts, and residents from these areas did not have to come to Sharjah.
Some motorists said yesterday that they queued for more than two hours. Others went home, saying they would try another day.
"The whole process looks unplanned and understaffed," said one Egyptian resident, who requested anonymity. "They should have expected this heavy turnout and expanded on the premises and staffs receiving people, rather than having us waiting the whole day just to pay a single traffic fine."
The discount covers fines for offences committed in 2011 or earlier, said Maj Gen Humaid Mohammed Al Hudaidi, the director general of Sharjah Police.
"It's a good opportunity for all drivers and vehicle owners to reduce their violations and respect the traffic rules and regulations on the roads," he said. "We want to reduce on their burdens and expect them also to learn from their mistakes."
He said police had registered 402,622 traffic offences in the first half of 2011, down from 562,064 in same period of 2010.