Malls across Dubai impose parking charges

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    By Shakir Husain http://business.maktoob.com 

    Shoppers at some of Dubai’s most popular malls will be hit with parking charges from September as malls move to stop commuters leaving vehicles in their parking garages all day.

    Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre said on Wednesday they will introduce parking fee for customers when Dubai Metro is operational in September.

    Dubai Mall and Marina Mall are putting up paid parking infrastructure, but owner Emaar has yet to officially announce the introduction of paid parking.

    BurJuman in Bur Dubai and Mazaya opposite Burj Dubai station already charge parking.

    Majid Al Futtaim Group, which owns Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre, said its parking fees will be “fair” to its customers, with the first three hours of parking free during weekdays and an extra hour on top of that at the weekends.

    Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre will charge 20 dirhams ($5.40) per hour for every additional hour after the free hours for the next three hours on weekdays, while on weekends the first and second extra hours after the four-hour free period will be charged at 40 dirhams and 60 dirhams respectively.

    For moviegoers at these malls, free parking will be extended by one more hour.

    The company said the new system is based on industry research showing an average of 70 percent of shoppers spend three hours or less in the malls during the week and four hours over the weekend.

    Fareed Abdelrahman, a vice-president at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said the company did not want its malls to become “park-and-ride stops” for Metro users.

    “With the Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre Metro stations so conveniently situated there was the need for a parking management system to ensure parking remains accessible for our customers,” he said in a statement.

    A trial period will begin on Aug. 9 when the two malls will test the use of entry and exit barriers, ticket collection points and instructions.

    Charges will apply from Sept.10, a day after Dubai Metro launches.

    Dubai Metro is expected to provide a big relief to both residents and tourists from the city’s traffic jams and severe heat during summer months.

    Shopping malls have welcomed the new train network and some have sponsored stations to attract more shoppers, but they are shy talking about parking fee charges that could affect their footfall.

    “The opening of Dubai Metro will positively strengthen visitor footfall to both the Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Mall. We do not have plans to introduce paid parking as of now,” said a spokesperson for Emaar Malls Group.

    Dubai Festival City, one of Dubai’s largest shopping centres, said it there is no plan to charge customers for parking.

    Martina Boor, marketing manager, said the metro would not make difference to their parking as the nearest station is a short taxi ride away and the centre has ample parking spaces even if some train users decide to leave their vehicles there.