Paid parking in Dubai: Residents face up to Dh4,000 extra yearly costs when new rates kick in

While residents are re-evaluating their monthly budgets, visitors driving to the mall must also be mindful of the amount of time they spend shopping


Angel Tesorero

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Tue 25 Jun 2024, 11:20 AM

Last updated: Tue 25 Jun 2024, 9:34 PM

An Egyptian expat living in Arjan, Dubai, is bracing for an increase of more than Dh300 in his family’s monthly expenses as Parkin Company plans to introduce public parking fees in his community at the end of July. To avoid these additional costs, which can total up to Dh4,000 annually, Khaled Hossein (name changed) is considering selling his family’s second car.

Arjan is one of the six key neighbourhoods in Dubai that will have more paid parking spaces by the end of next month, and motorists will have to pay higher fees for some premium parking spots. The five other communities are Jaddaf Waterfront, Al Sufouh Gardens, Dubai Land Residence Complex, Majan, and Liwan 1 & 2.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

The extra expense will come from his family’s second car, which his wife uses to commute to work, and they are allotted only one free parking space at their residence. They live in a Zone B parking area, where the tariff starts from Dh3 for one hour and increases over time between 8am to 10pm.

Hossein’s wife arrives home from work around 6pm. The parking fee will Dh12 for four hours from Monday to Friday; and Dh20 on Saturdays (Sunday is free). This amounts to Dh80 per week or Dh320 monthly. In a year, the household's parking fees can accumulate up to about Dh4,000.

Arjan community. Photos: Angel Lee Tesorero
Arjan community. Photos: Angel Lee Tesorero

Buying a seasonal parking card could be an option for them, which is Dh4,500 for one year. They are also contemplating selling their second car to save money and not add more expense to the Dh46,000 yearly rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

Hossein and his wife are not happy about having to pay for parking in their community, which used to be free.

While residents are re-evaluating their parking costs and monthly budgets, visitors driving to a mall must also be mindful of the amount of time they spend shopping or catching up with friends. From July 1, parking fees will also be collected in some areas at Dubai Mall.

Motorists visiting the mall for more than 4 hours during weekdays or 6 hours on weekends (from Friday to Sunday) will have to pay corresponding fees, with a maximum tariff reaching up to Dh1,000 for 24-hour parking. Some parking areas, however, will remain free, and some people are totally exempted from paying parking dues.

Dubai Mall parking area
Dubai Mall parking area

Price for convenience

Traffic safety researcher Dr Mostafa Al Dah, who was the former head of Traffic Studies Section at Dubai Police, said: “Parking costs add up to the overall cost of living, but the convenience of having a confirmed place to park is hard to put a price on.”

Introducing paid parking is also a way to prevent haphazard parking on the roadway and double-parking in front of cafeterias or grocery stores in communities, noted the Emirati expert, adding: “Pricing parking is not always welcome at first, but most of the areas it has been introduced to have shown improvement in parking availability and traffic flow.”

Dr Mostafa Al Dah
Dr Mostafa Al Dah

Al Dah, who is also founder of MA Traffic Consulting, cited the case of Burjuman Mall. “When paid parking was introduced 16 years ago, there was a lot of reservation from the public, but this stopped nearby businesses abusing mall parking, and gave shoppers a better experience. Also, from my experience abroad, it is rare for a large managed car park not to be chargeable, so introducing paid parking at Dubai Mall was just a matter of time,” he explained.

Improving services

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Monica Menendez, associate dean of Engineering for Graduate Affairs at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and director at Research Center for Interacting Urban Networks, said: “In general, we don’t like to pay for things. Parking is not an exception. Thus, from the perspective of the motorists and the residents, I’m not sure this (parking tariff) is going to be well received.

Menendez gave a more acceptable rationale for introducing parking tariffs from the point of view of an urban planner. She explained: "Parking pricing is a way to regulate traffic. The same way tolls are used to discourage the use of certain road facilities at certain times, parking pricing can be used to discourage traffic into an area.

Dr Monica Menendez
Dr Monica Menendez

“In fact, parking pricing is more accepted – i.e., less controversial – than road pricing in many places around the world. Moreover, the generated revenue can be used to improve other transportation services,” she added.

Equity and viable options

The NYUAD professor of Civil and Urban Engineering continued: "Ideally, parking pricing could be employed to discourage the use of cars and encourage the use of more sustainable transportation options (such as buses).

“However, for that to happen, it is imperative that those other options are good and reliable. In the absence of transportation alternatives that are competitive enough in terms of speed, convenience, cost, etc, people will continue to drive their cars even if they have to pay for parking."

There is also the question of equity when it comes to parking pricing. “If the tariff is too low, it won’t make a difference. If the pricing is too high, it might lead to equality issues, as not everyone will be able to pay for it,” Menendez noted.


More news from UAE