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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Disabled driver angry at parking fine in Dubai despite using permit

Robert Beale, 50, suffers from Parkinson's and was issued a parking ticket while displaying his badge in Dubai Media City

Robert Beale displays his person of determination parking badge in the front of his car when he is driving Pawan Singh / The National
Robert Beale displays his person of determination parking badge in the front of his car when he is driving Pawan Singh / The National

A disabled man has criticised parking authorities after he was fined Dh150 in error, and then asked to make a three-hour round trip to try to have the penalty waived.

Robert Beale, who lives in Abu Dhabi, said his ordeal was absurd and called on Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority to cancel his fine.

Businessman Mr Beale, 50, was issued with a disabled parking permit after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years ago.

But after being told it allowed him to park in disabled bays and normal parking spaces across the country free of charge, he was given a ticket in Dubai.

“I displayed my badge correctly but when I came back out to the car after two hours I had a Dh150 ticket,” said Mr Beale, who is from the UK.

“I was told in Abu Dhabi that I could use my permit in any of the emirates. Simple things like this are really frustrating. It’s not about being disabled because that doesn’t define who I am.

“It’s about the absurdity of the process.”

Mr Beale had driven the hour and a half to Dubai from his home in Abu Dhabi last month to attend a business meeting.

After finding the disabled bays in the area full, he parked in a normal parking space – something authorities had told him he was allowed to do. But when he returned to the car, he found he had been given a ticket.

In a subsequent phone call to the RTA he was told that Abu Dhabi-issued disabled permits were not valid in Dubai.

But a spokeswoman for the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi its permits were valid across all of the ­emirates.

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Since then, the RTA has told Mr Beale the only way he can take the issue further is to go to a police station in Dubai and take his ticket, disability card, parking permit and car registration with him.

But Mr Beale has said the stressful three-hour return trip is not worth his time and has become resigned to paying the penalty.

“Things that set my Parkinson’s off include stress and I just find the road up to Dubai stressful,” he said.

“It’s full of people who think it’s Wacky Races. I know the speed cameras have helped but it still doesn’t slow people down because people know where the cameras are. It’s basically three hours out of my life that I don’t want to use going to Dubai.”

The RTA did not respond to a request for comment despite repeated attempts.

According to the government’s website, parking permits issued to people with disabilities allow them to park free of charge.