By Samir Salama, Associate Editor, Gulf News
Abu Dhabi: Many motorists in the capital claim the capital’s paid parking system’s teething problems have left them in the lurch, with no remedy offered for their grievances.
Wisam Sharaf, who uses its SMS service to pay for parking, said he was charged three times on two occasions last month for tickets to park his car.
The furious motorist added that despite repeated complaints and a lengthy wait, the answer he got was “Mawaqif agrees it was a system bug but cannot do anything for you.”
Another motorist, Anand Nair, said he was overcharged for the service three times and the answer he got was “Mawaqif [has] got nothing to do with this.”
Haroon Mazhar Hussain, another Mawaqif account holder, complained he was unable to transfer his credit balance from one mobile number to another.
“Mawaqif should introduce a facility to transfer or refund the credit balance to the same account holder and not just keep the money of customers and give excuses,” Hussain said.
Lack of signs
Gulf News sent the complaints to Mawaqif, but got no response, despite repeated calls and e-mails.
There have been complaints by residents in some of the newly-controlled areas that there still is not enough legal parking in some places and that when they return home at night, they can’t find a space and either have to park too far from home or get a ticket.
In a bid to address this concern, the Department of Transport made it obligatory that when the paid parking charges stop at 9pm or 10pm, only residents will be allowed to park in these spaces.
But no comment was offered on the implications of this decision for restaurants and shops in the affected areas, many of which stay open well beyond 10pm.
Other people complained of a lack of ‘residents only’ signs.
William Baini said he got a fine for parking at night in an area where he could find only signs for paid parking times.
Expressing his dismay at his experience with Mawaqif, Baini said he questioned a Dh500 fine he got for parking his car at around 10pm in an area adjacent to Capital Garden.
“I asked the parking officer to walk to my car and show me signs telling me this is a residents-only spot. He could not. He told me there were several signs a great distance down the street and one sign further up the street. The officer admitted I was correct and that the area was causing him problems because of the lack of signs. He told me he had complained to Mawaqif that signs were needed adjacent to the 8am to 9pm paid parking signs, as they were misleading.”
Baini filled in a complaint, which was rejected. “I am extremely upset at being forced to accept liability and being made to pay a fine when the fault is in the people who should have put up signs,” he said.
With the introduction of paid parking, the once overcrowded parking spaces now look deserted. The standard parking areas are comparatively busier. With strict ticketing during paid parking hours, hardly anyone resorts to double-parking.
However, the parking nightmare does not seem to have come to an end for the city’s residents but merely moved from one area to another.
Binoy George said it was impossible to drive in certain free parking areas due to the migration of vehicles of those who are not eligible for Mawaqif permits, from paid parking to free parking.
Department of Transport officials were not available for comment. More info