Motorists in Sharjah are now able to pay for their public parking spot through SMS, as the smsParking Service has been launched and is operative from today.
The system is aimed at making payment for parking as simple as possible. Only one number has been made available for parking in all areas in Sharjah, to which a parking user can send a text message and reserve a parking lot for as many hours as he or she wants, said Riyadh Abdullah Aylan, the Director-General of Sharjah Municipality.
Atif Al Zarouni, Director of the Public Parking Department of Sharjah Municipality pointed out: “The public parking users in the city of Sharjah can now reserve a parking lot by sending a text message to the number 5566.
The SMS should be sent in the following format: plate source, number and code. The customer will receive a confirmation message which includes the virtual permit details, and a reminder message will be sent to the customer 10 minutes before the permit expires. For extending for another hour, the customer should send “Y” to 5566, he explained.
This service is available to all etisalat and du customers, and the parking fee will be added to the phone bill. Motorists will not be required to register or activate the service, as it is available for all vehicles with a valid number plate from one of the seven emirates.
However, to simplify the payment further, motorists can register at the mParking website of Sharjah Municipality http://mpark.shjmun.gov.ae/, where also vehicles with number plates from outside the UAE can register to be able to use the service.
“When people register, they only need to mention their name in the SMS, and the payment has been made,” explained a spokesperson of Sharjah Municipality. “The fee is the same for all areas, so there is no need for an area code. Further, at the moment one can only pay for one hour of parking through the service, so the charge is always the same.”
The parking fee for all zones in Sharjah is Dh2 per hour, and an extra charge of 38 fils is added for the SMS service by the telecom provider. Therefore, payment through SMS for an hour of parking will be Dh2,38, the spokesperson explained.
“In the future, it may be possible to pay through SMS for more than one hour, but for now the customer needs to extend the parking after an hour, for which another 38 fils is charged.”
“The launch of the smsParking in the city of Sharjah is part of the municipality’s keenness on using the modern technologies to provide the public with the municipal services in the easiest and most comfortable way,” said Aylan.
He added that this initiative comes within the range of smart services which the municipality recently started to provide to the public, in implementation of the wise directives of the leadership concerning the adoption of modern technologies in order to make the municipality services easier and more comfortable.
Meanwhile, the traditional payment options will continue to exist, including the payment with coins, with a pre-paid card or through periodic membership, which can last for 3, 6, or 12 months.
Although the parking rates will be cheaper using these services, Sharjah Municipality expects mParking to be a great success in the emirate. “The service was launched today and within the first hour 50 people had already registered on the mParking website. In Dubai as well the service is really popular. It is very convenient for people to pay through SMS.”
Currently six areas in Sharjah fall under the prepaid public parking programme, being Corniche, Al-Chouyheen, Al-Ghuwair, Al Majaz, Al Wahda and Al Istiklal. An another three areas - Al Nad, al Mahtah and Al Majaz- will be added to the list soon, as per a recently made announcement of Sharjah Municipality.
The municipality is continuously monitoring parking congestion in the emirate, introducing paid parking schemes in the areas suffering most from over-crowding. More areas are expected to be added in the near future.