Dubai: University students develop solution to ease parking woes

‘Rent-a-Parking’ platform was inspired by their own challenges with parking around city


Nandini Sircar

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Ramisha and Fatma receive first prize at the Entrepreneurship Showcase for their idea at the Brand Me Summit. — Supplied photo
Ramisha and Fatma receive first prize at the Entrepreneurship Showcase for their idea at the Brand Me Summit. — Supplied photo

Published: Sun 31 Mar 2024, 6:00 AM

Drivers in Dubai may soon find relief from the hassle of searching for parking spots, thanks to an innovative solution developed by a team of university students.

Sophomore students at the Canadian University Dubai (CUD) Ramisha Ahmareen Zaman and Fatma Ahmad Alattar created ‘Rent-a-Parking’ platform, inspired by their own daily challenges looking for parking space around the city.

Ramisha said: “Our university is in the City Walk area and we struggle a lot with the parking situation there as we cannot find parking spots easily. You have to validate your parking, take your car out after five hours and then return to revalidate it. It’s an everyday struggle for us. So, we decided to come up with a novel and viable parking solution. Therefore, we thought of using residential areas. Many people here live in apartments, and they may have extra parking spaces.”

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Redeploying unused parking spaces

Ramisha and Fatma set out to explore how they could redeploy unused spaces to increase capacity in high-demand locations.

Fatma explained: “Dubai has one of the highest numbers of cars per capita in the world. One option would be to build more spaces, but we wanted to explore a more sustainable solution to the problem, where residents with unused parking spaces could offer them on rent.”

Describing how the system would work, Fatma added: “We have built a dynamic online marketplace where people can list available parking spaces in residential buildings. It enables renters to monetise their unused parking space while providing a convenient solution for drivers.”

The duo pointed out that pricing entails both a minimum and maximum limit, with variations primarily determined by the level of demand in each area.

“The platform is available citywide, and spaces can be rented for varying durations, whether hours, days, or months, based on the user’s specific needs. The minimum is one hour, and the maximum is a month or a year. If there is higher demand in a locality the rates are always higher as compared to a location which is less in demand. Second, pricing also depends on the person listing it just like Dubizzle, where people add prices as per their discretion,” explained Ramisha.

App prototype

They elaborated that while a prototype of the ‘Rent-a-Parking’ app is currently ready, there will be intermediary stakeholders tasked with ensuring the safety of vehicles or parking spaces from any potential damage.

“Cameras will be installed, and collaboration with the regulatory body, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), is part of our plan. Additionally, a percentage of the earnings will be shared with the building owner. Thus, obtaining permission from the building owners is our initial step in renting out the parking space. We do not intervene in the transactions between the renter and rentee, but we do charge a three to five pe rcent fee for each transaction occurring between them. Hence, our role primarily revolves around facilitating transactions between these two parties,” added the 21-year-old.

After almost a year of work on market analysis and prototype development, Ramisha and Fatma are now looking to the next stage of their project.

Fatma added: “We would like to explore investment opportunities and also develop the regulatory framework for the platform, which we hope to do in collaboration with relevant authorities like the RTA. We were also awarded the first prize at the Entrepreneurship Showcase for our idea staged as part of the recent Brand Me Summit. The scarcity of parking spaces is a growing problem, particularly in urban areas. We hope that our innovation can contribute to a sustainable solution to this challenge.”


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