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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Hundreds of cars towed and motorists fined in crackdown on illegal parking in Abu Dhabi

Penatlies after the three-week parking amnesty by the Department of Transport ended 

A car is towed by Mawaqif attendants in the sand parking lot opposite the Park Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National 
A car is towed by Mawaqif attendants in the sand parking lot opposite the Park Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National 

Hundreds of motorists have had their cars towed as Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport clamps down on illegal parking across the island.

Over the past few days more than 200 cars have been impounded from a sand lot opposite TwoFour54 building 6. The area was as a free parking zone for hundreds of employees for years until last Sunday when notices began appearing on car windshields.

In August, the transport department announced that motorists would have to pay for parking in all public spaces on Abu Dhabi island as of September 7.

Motorists were given a three-week amnesty to secure residency parking permits and adapt to the new rules.

Mawaqif attendants began placing warning notices on the windshields of any cars found parked in now-illegal areas at the beginning of last week.

The notices warned of fines and towing if people continued to park there and on Wednesday, any car found in the area opposite TwoFour54 was issued a Dh500 fine.

By the end of the day, up to 200 cars were towed, with trucks taking away five more cars on Thursday.

Some employees spotted the tow trucks from their office windows and rushed down to move their cars.

“Four of us ran from the office when we saw the cars getting towed,” said Anas Assalah, a public relations manager, who works in building 6.

“But only me and a colleague managed to save our cars, the rest were fined,” said the Palestinian, 33.

He said he had received notices on his car from Sunday but chose to keep parking in the area after seeing others ignoring warnings.

“Everybody in the office was confident because we had all parked there but then one of our colleagues called us from downstairs and told us that a truck was towing cars so we ran down.”

The sand lot opposite TwoFour54 building 6 is now a no-parking zone. All public parking is now paid-for in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National
The sand lot opposite TwoFour54 building 6 is now a no-parking zone. All public parking is now paid-for in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National

Mr Assalah has now started parking in the nearest car park, outside Khalifa Park — a 10-minute walk from his office.

“In the summer it is difficult to walk. If only they could arrange a shuttle or golf cars to take us,” he said.

Meanwhile, construction has started on the former parking area but plans for the zone have not yet been revealed.

“Nobody knows what they will do," said Mr Assalah. "Speculations are that it will either be transformed into an official paid parking or they will place plants and decoration there, because the government is focusing on keeping a beautiful image of the city."

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Read more:

The end of free parking in Abu Dhabi: new Mawaqif rules come into force

The UAE explained: Everything you need to know about Abu Dhabi parking charges

Abu Dhabi motorists given three-week parking amnesty ahead of Mawaqif expansion across the capital

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Another employee in the building said they were not given enough time to find an alternative area in which to park.

“We have been parking here for three years,” said Alexandre Lechef, a public relations director, 40, who was fined Dh500 on Wednesday for parking in the now-illegal zone.

“I saw the warning sticker at 5pm on Tuesday, they didn’t give us a chance to think of alternatives.

“Of the 12 people in our office, six were fined,” he said.

“When I went down I saw them towing a car and mine was the fifth in line.”

A 'no parking' sign at the sand lot that was a free parking area for employees of TwoFour54 for years. Victor Besa / The National
A 'no parking' sign at the sand lot that was a free parking area for employees of TwoFour54 for years. Victor Besa / The National

'No parking' signs have been erected at the entrance of the sand lot but some say the signs are barely visible.

“One has to look to his left to see it, but naturally when you enter, you turn right,” said Mohammed Daqqaq, an account executive from Jordan.

“And the second sign is placed even further to the left, opposite the police station.”

Mr Daqqaq, 34, managed to evade a fine by adhering to the warning notices posted on his car windshield earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, he parked opposite Khalifa Park but said he had to endure walking in the heat between his car and the office three times that day.

“I rushed to take a shower right after work.”