x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Clampdown on car sales in public parking areas

The Roads and Transport Authority is to take 'strict measures' against vehicles being sold or rented in car parks.

DUBAI // The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has warned that strict measures will be taken against vehicles being sold or rented in public parking areas after some companies complained the practice was hurting their business. Authorities hope to crack down on a growing custom that they say also infringes on the Emirate's tourist profile, the state news agency WAM reported.

"Selling or renting vehicles at public parking areas in Dubai Emirate is an express infringement of RTA rules and car selling and rental regulations prevailing in the emirate," Adel al Marzooki, the director of the parking department, told WAM. "Utilisation of car parking in selling or renting vehicles disrupts RTA efforts aiming at providing high-class services and trespasses the rights of others through depriving them of the parking services, besides negatively impacting the tourist and urbanised profile of Dubai emirate."

The agency did not provide specifics regarding penalties that might be levied against illegal sellers. Parking around Dubai is already a struggle and authorities are trying to limit abuses with the installation of more meters. They are also boosting payment enforcement in locations such as the Mall of the Emirates, where some people who use the Metro leave their cars all day. The phenomenon of using car parks as makeshift car showrooms also has been an issue in Abu Dhabi, which has towed away hundreds of cars for breaking long-term parking rules since last year as part of a major enforcement push. The law in the capital states that cars left in public spaces for more than two weeks are flouting regulations.

Vendors in the Emirates must acquire an appropriate licence and cannot use free parking spaces for commercial use. Dealers in the capital had complained that the illegal traders were costing them customers. Some sellers who were rounded up had left signs in vehicle windows with specifications and contact details, hoping to make a commission-free sale by avoiding a third party such as a dealer. Cars parked illegally are impounded, costing their owners Dh500 (US$136) for their release. City Image inspectors now target such vehicles in an effort to create more parking for residents.