x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abu Dhabi launches parking scheme

The Department of Transport has launched the first stage of the Abu Dhabi parking management programme.

Parking meters were switched on for the first time in Abu Dhabi this morning - but residents won't need to feed them until the weekend. The activations marked the launch of the Department of Transport's long-anticipated parking management programme. More than two dozen parking-enforcement officers already are patrolling the metered area, which stretches from Liwa to Baniyas Streets and from Hamdan to Khalifa Streets. But officials said there would be a grace period until Saturday in which motorists would only receive a warning for violating the rules, and perhaps a pamphlet explaining the parking programme, dubbed Mawaqif (Arabic for "parking"). After that, fines - ranging from Dh100 (US$28) to Dh1,000 - will be handed out to drivers who park outside the designated parking spaces, which are indicated by torqoise-and-white or blue-and-black curb markings. The officers, from the private company Saaed, also will be lenient at first on drivers who allow the meters to expire, said Najib al Zarooni, director of parking for the department. "We want people to get used to paying and to get used to parking in the proper bay," Mr Zarooni said. " If he pays for the first hour and fails to pay for the second and third hour, we will still give him a warning, but no fine. "However, illegal parking - nobody will accept it." Parking areas are classified as premium or standard spaces. At premium spots, which on main streets, vehicles can stay a maximum of four hours at a cost of Dh3 per hour. In standard spaces, the the cost is Dh2 per hour for a maximum of 24 hours. Paid parking will be enforced between from 8 am to 9 pm Saturday to Thursday, excluding public holidays, officials said. Motorists can pay for parking in two ways: via coins or using cards purchased at a customer service centre on Hamdan Street near Salam Street. Fines will also be paid at the centre. People who live in the new pay-parking zones must purchase parking permits, which allow unlimited parking during the enforcement hours. Every resident may get two permits, the first of which costs Dh800 and the second of which will cost Dh1,200. Proof of residency - a lease agreement, or electricity or telephone bill - is required to secure a resident parking permit.

mchung@thenational.ae