DUBAIi // Transport officials say that a scheme allowing Dubai motorists to pay for parking by using their mobile phones has received a healthy response since it was launched in May. The Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA) mParking scheme allows a driver to buy an e-ticket by sending a text message; it costs 30 fils more than a conventional ticket. The system is available in areas including Deira and Bur Dubai.
The number of e-tickets issued has topped more than a quarter of a million, with a daily average of 4,200 at various tariffs, according to Maitha bin Adai, the chief executive of the RTA's Traffic and Roads Agency. There are more than 10,000 registered users in the RTA system. Mohammad Iqbal, 43, a marketing manager who works on Sheikh Zayed Road opposite Emirates Towers, said: "My office is on the 34th floor and usually I wouldn't have Dh5 in coins to pay until lunchtime.
"I thought it was a very good service when it was introduced because I don't have to take the lift every hour or two to get a new ticket." Authorities plan to make the mParking service available across the emirate by the end of the year. Motorists who use the system receive an SMS a few minutes before the e-ticket is about to expire; they can then renew their tickets for a further hour. The service means they can pay fees from anywhere without having to walk to a machine.
When parking controllers approach a car that does not have a valid ticket, they enter the licence plate number into their PDA, which is linked to the main service provider and the RTA parking database. It will display all valid and expired permits in the zone. Parking in RTA-controlled areas, except for Deira Fish Market, is free until Saturday. email@example.com