by Neeraj Gangal
Companies near Dubai’s Metro stations are planning to replace their staff car parking spaces with Nol payment cards, according to a report.
The move by some private banks and other financial institutions to boost savings will mean companies will actively encourage employees to use the Metro, said Pankaj Ganjoo, Regional Head (Middle East and Africa) of ICICI Bank, according to the Emirates Business daily.
The UAE-based added that a firm that pays for as few as 10 parking spaces at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) could face an annual parking bill of AED240,000 ($65343).
“There is a business interest for everyone in the use of the Metro,” Ganjoo told the daily. “[Banks] pay considerable amounts as reimbursement for conveyance but now those close to Metro stations will look at adopting it quickly.
“Apart from the shortage of parking at DIFC, we have to pay AED2,000 per month for each space we are allotted. If even a third of those who currently drive to work find hopping on the Metro practical with respect to journey times, any organisation would gladly top up Nol cards for monthly travel allowances and do away with parking charges.”
A total of 366,968 passengers took a ride on Dubai Metro in its first week of operation, figures by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) show.
The Emirates Daily noted that Emirates Towers costs up to AED2,000 and the nearby Fairmont charges AED1,000.
However, car sales in the UAE are expected to rise by five percent next year despite the introduction of the Dubai Metro as banks resume lending as the impact of the global crisis eases, new research said last week.
Analysis by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry also predicted that car ownership in the UAE will this year exceed 55 percent of the population for the first time in the country’s history, despite the efforts of the Roads and Transport Authority to encourage alternative forms of travel.
Ultimately, transport chiefs hope the metro will encourage 30 percent of Dubai’s population to use public transport by 2020.