Frustration over Dh30 an hour parking charges at mall in Dubai
Residents up in arms over Motor City fees but mall owners say it was introduced to stop misuse of parking spaces
Shoppers in Dubai have hit out at the introduction of a Dh30-an-hour parking fee at their local mall.
Residents of Motor City and the surrounding communities criticised the new fee at First Avenue Mall, saying it was already difficult to find parking without putting such a high price on the few spaces left.
Aleena Omar, from Pakistan, said she got an expensive surprise when she parked at the mall this week.
“I bought groceries for Dh150 and had to pay Dh30 for parking for 45 minutes,” she said.
“I will definitely not be going to Carrefour in First Avenue Mall again.”
A spokesman for the mall said everyone had 30 minutes’ free parking but those who could produce a First Avenue receipt would have three hours’ more free parking before the Dh30 fee began.
Drivers who did not have a receipt from the mall would have to pay Dh30 an hour after the initial 30 minutes free.
Those who chose to use the 400-space underground car park would have to pay just Dh20 an hour after three hours of free parking, he said.
However, some motorists said the new system was confusing and claimed some of the staff responsible for implementing it did not seem to understand it either.
“I showed the staff member the receipt and he said that I still had to pay Dh30 because I was parked for more than 30 minutes,” Ms Omar said.
Odette Rip, who lives in nearby Mira, said the new charges had put her off using the mall entirely.
“I drove into the mall parking and drove out immediately,” she said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous to charge Dh30 an hour; it’s more expensive than the airport.”
Another resident said the uproar over the charges led to angry scenes at the kiosk, where motorists pay the parking fees.
“I got stuck queuing to get out while people, quite rightly, argued with the attendants about the ridiculous charges,” she said.
“Because I went over time while queuing, they charged me for an extra hour.”
The Motor City shopping centre was not the only mall in the city to come under fire for introducing parking fees recently. In July, Dubai Marina Mall said it would introduce a Dh20 fee for every hour over the free three-hour limit, angering shoppers.
A senior First Avenue Mall representative said the charges were introduced because people were abusing the parking spaces, which had been completely free.
“People were parking their cars without going to the mall at all,” said Rani Al Thaqafi, partner at First Avenue Mall. “They would leave them there all day and go off until night time, which meant that people hoping to actually use the mall couldn’t find a space.”
He denied that the new fees were excessive, adding that anybody who has proof of having made a purchase from the mall would get the first three hours free.
“It’s like an airport; if you want to park right beside it you have to pay a premium. We want to encourage people to park at the underground facility, which is completely free for the first three hours,” he said.
“People were parking in the spaces outside the mall near the road and then going across the road to use shops that weren’t even part of the mall. It’s about being fair.”
Updated: August 26, 2019 03:13 PM