By Soren Billing www.arabianbusiness.com
Mall of the Emirates and Deira City Centre on Wednesday announced that all parking will be free during the weekend even after the Dubai Metro launches, after customers complained that a four-hour time limit on free parking was not enough.
The malls, owned by Majid Al Futtaim, said they have also decided to extend free parking during weekdays from three to four hours, and that the free trial period of its new parking management system has been extended until Saturday October 3.
A trial run of the system began on August 10, ahead of the Dubai Metro’s opening on September 9.
After that, visitors parking their cars for longer than four hours on weekdays will be charged AED20 ($5.40) for every additional hour for the next three hours.
An extensive feedback programme during the trial showed that customers agreed on the need for a system to stop commuters using the Dubai Metro from leaving their cars in the malls.
“One point that did emerge was that more people would use the metro on weekdays to commute to work and genuine mall visitors would need spaces for longer periods at the weekends,” said Fareed Abdelrahman, vice president of divisional asset management at Majid Al Futtaim Properties.
“Another request was to raise the number of free parking hours during the week for all customers. This is exactly the sort of feedback that we were asking for and we have responded accordingly. The trial period has been a great success for all concerned.”
On weekdays, customers are asked to validate their parking tickets before they leave the malls. The validated tickets then need to be inserted into the machine at the exit barrier.
Courtesy parking crews will continue to be stationed around both the malls to help customers adapt to the new system, the company said.
Nakheel, owner of Ibn Battuta, has said it too is looking at different ways of managing its parking facilities but that no announcement will be made until the Dubai Roads and Transport (RTA) authority opens its metro station.
Al Ghurair Group’s BurJuman mall has been charging for parking since July last year, but the money is refunded if shoppers spend more than AED100 ($27.2).