Warning notices slapped on unattended vehicles

ABU DHABI - Contrary to what the public believes, it’s not the capital’s municipality that is going around putting up warning notices on cars left unattended by owners in parking lots that the vehicle will be towed away if not removed within a week. A private company that has been hired by the municipality is behind the action.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 3 Aug 2004, 11:09 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:09 PM

A source at the municipality said the contract has been awarded to a company to check on cars left unattended for weeks and months.

Previously, the municipality was putting up the warning notices and now the company is doing the job.

However, of late, there have been increasing number of cases of cars left behind by owners away on holiday stuck with the notice.

It is a common practice over the years among the car owners in the capital going on annual holidays to leave behind their vehicles covered and parked in proper parking in front of their apartment buildings.

Neighbours who have been entrusted with the responsibility of keeping an eye on such vehicles told Khaleej Times that they were surprised to find the warning notices put up on some of the cars parked in proper parking, while the owners are away on holidays.

In many cases watchmen have removed the notice and washed the vehicle to prevent the company from towing away the car.

Motorists are agitated the way municipality is going about the matter. Several said, “it is sheer harassment, all that the municipality wants is that we should leave our vehicles in the underground parkings when going on holiday.”

Under pressure to solve the growing parking problems in the capital, the municipality has built several underground parkings at various vantage locations in the capital. But many of these underground parkings are not being fully utilised. The main grudge of the car owners is the high rates. Dh2/hour and Dh15 per day. Finding an increase in the number of cars covered with dust and debris for days without being cleaned and often without number plates, the municipality about two years ago passed a law stipulating a fine of Dh500 and removal of any vehicle parked for more than a couple of weeks in a particular place.

The law helped in the removal of rickety ramshackle cars left unattended by owners who found it cumbersome and time consuming to get the vehicle written off.

Several car owners who intend going on annual holidays disapprove the hasty and haphazard manner in which the private company is putting up warning notices on cars parked properly. There are those who complained that the company staff is pulling off covers put on by owners to protect their vehicles and are putting the notice.

The company entrusted with the job charges Dh300 to release the car from the pond and the owner has to refer to the municipal court for the parking offence. The fine amount is decided by the municipality court, ranging from Dh500 to Dh1000, depending on the nature of the violation.

Nathan (not real name) says , “I have a feeling, that since many of the municipality parking lots are empty, they may be doing this to attract customers, a one month charge is around Dh350 at these underground parkings, about Dh150 less than the amount of fine, motorists may have a second thought, but I could be wrong.”

While another car owner said it was wrong on the part of the municipality to force people in such a manner to park cars in underground parkings. “I have a right to park my car in front of the building I live for any number of days, I pay rent that entitles me to park the car,” he noted.

“The law, however, does not seem to have prevented some boat owners from leaving their boats in parking places for years without the municipality taking any action.

“Similarly, road dividers and other construction materials left behind by road builders in parking lots have not been removed. So also cars without number plates. For there is no profits for the company in towing away a car with no owner to claim,” said another.


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