Malls in Abu Dhabi have started charging shoppers for the (generally) covered parking slots.
However, like some malls in Dubai, the two malls that have introduced paid parking, have kept a ‘free’ period after which the meter starts rolling.
The Al Wahda mall parking is free during the first three hours. A Dh10 fee is charged for every hour after three hours till six hours. From six to seven hours, the parking fee is Dh50; and seven to eight hours Dh100. For eight hours it’s Dh150 and Dh350 for overnight parking.
In case the ticket is lost, customers have to pay a Dh150 penalty.
The World Trade Centre (WTC) mall was the first to charge parking fees. The WTC now offers free parking for 2 hours before 10am, and 3-hours after 10am, after which Dh10 is charged for every hour there on.
Only these two Abu Dhabi malls have introduced parking fee, and some claim more malls will follow.
Despite several attempts, both mall managements have been unavailable for comment.
However, Abu Dhabi residents seem to be more forthcoming.
P. George, who lives near Al Wahda Mall, says she might as well take a cab to the mall, or park at Mawaqif parking.
“It’s Dh10 for five hours, but in the mall it will be Dh20.”
Mawaqif charges Dh2 per hour for standard parking and Dh3 for premium.
“Earlier, I could just stroll along in the mall, but now I have to time myself,” she added.
Another resident, Sheetal, had a suggestion for mall managements.
“They should have a provision to reverse the parking charges if a customer can show shopping bills from the mall,” she said.
Paid parking in malls is not an issue just between shoppers and mall managements - it seems cab services have found a new cash cow.
Uber Abu Dhabi is tweeting from its official handle, “Instead of worrying about parking, take your first Uber ride for free and have a hassle free Saturday in Abu Dhabi. Perfect for a mall day!”