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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

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

A three-week amnesty has ended meaning residents will now need to pay Dh2 an hour to park in public spaces or purchase a permit

A man pays for parking in the Khalidiya neighborhood of Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova/The National
A man pays for parking in the Khalidiya neighborhood of Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova/The National

A three-week parking amnesty came to an end on Friday meaning that motorists will now need to pay to park in all public spaces on Abu Dhabi island.

The new scheme was announced on August 18; however, Mawaqif wardens were instructed not to issue tickets during the first three weeks of implementation. This allowed residents the chance to adapt to the new rules.

This period ends on Friday September 7, but since Mawaqif fees do not apply on Fridays, the new regulations are supposed to come into effect on Saturday 8.

Mawaqif machines will become a more common sight when paid-for parking is rolled out across Abu Dhabi island. Victor Besa / The National
Mawaqif machines will become a more common sight when paid-for parking is rolled out across Abu Dhabi island. Victor Besa / The National

During the amnesty period, many residents of areas that are now under Mawaqif either relocated to areas off the island or secured residency permits that allow them to park outside their homes without having to pay the Dh2 per hour fee.

To acquire a permit there is a charge of between Dh800 and Dh1,200 annually.

Thuraya Mohammed, a Lebanese expat, said seeing the Mawaqif a few weeks ago outside her family’s villa came as a “shock”.

“Our house is big and we have lived in it our whole lives, I never expected to pay to park right outside our property,” said the 29-year-old.

She said their villa is located in the backstreets of Murour, near the Police College, in a residential neighbourhood away from the chaos of the busy streets downtown.

“It was a shock for us to have paid parking here because we thought Mawaqif was only for crowded areas in order to limit the number of cars blocking the streets,” said the mechanical engineer.

“We do sometimes come across cars parked randomly in our street, especially if there is a function at one of the houses, so I guess having Mawaqif here will end that.”

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Read more:

Abu Dhabi residents consider moving home to avoid new Mawaqif parking charges

Abu Dhabi to charge for all parking from August

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“I escaped to Khalifa City,” said Bilal Kbash, 26, from Palestine, who used to live in Al Mushrif.

“I moved on the first of September, so I am all set to receive the new scheme.

“But now I am worried that Mawaqif will follow us to Khalifa City.

“I heard it won’t happen in the next two years and by then I could escape somewhere else.”

However, relocating was not an easy task.

“I could not find a suitable new place easily — I searched for 20 days.

“The rent rates also suddenly went up in Khalifa City.”

A one-bedroom apartment used to cost a maximum of Dh3,500, but now rent starts from Dh3,500 and reaches up to Dh5,000.

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