City Center parking fees start tomorrow
The new cash booths at City Center, set to charge customers from tomorrow By Peter Townson
Parking charges are set to be introduced at City Center tomorrow following an extended trial period throughout the 1,600-space car park.
According to City Center director Amer Sandawi, the parking system, which cost more than QR10mn to install, had been undergoing trial to ensure that it was up and running smoothly when it came into operation.
“We want to make sure that we had tested the system to make sure that everything works fine - we don’t want our customers to suffer any inconvenience,” he said.
Customers will pay QR2 for the first hour of parking, QR3 for the second and third hours, and then QR10 for any additional hours
Sandawi explained that the charges had been brought in to alleviate problems associated with parking for customers.
“We had a problem with external parking, people coming to park from other places in the West Bay,” he said, adding “this is a problem in the whole area and not just for us.”
“This other issue we had was people coming to the mall and staying here all day but not buying anything.”
Sandawi explained that City Center decided to introduce the system so that customers who had a need to get into the shopping centre would not be repelled by the poor parking situation.
Responding to accusations of simply introducing a money-making scheme, he explained that the cost of applying the system had been excessive and the money raised would only cover the costs of the initial investment.
With 12 entrance booths, 12 cash booth exits and four ticketing machines, the new system requires a large number of staff to man booths from 8am until 2am every day.
Sandawi pointed out that tenants would be able to offer a service to validate their customers’ tickets, noting that cinema customers could have the third and fourth hours of charges reduced to QR3 rather than QR10 by showing tickets to the information desk.
He explained that customers who spent over QR100 at Carrefour would receive two hours of free parking, and that other stores will be putting similar measures in place to offer price reductions to their customers.
Yesterday, the new system was in full use, but customers were not being charged for the parking. The effects of the new system were clear, as many more parking spaces were available than usual, and while cars could previously be seen circling the car park for over 10 minutes looking for spaces, yesterday there were empty spaces for potential customers.
Although it is summer and demand for parking spaces will be less than usual over the coming month or so, the system will be tested fully when people return from their annual holidays.
However, the centre’s director is confident that the changes will improve the shopping experience at City Center, and that customers will find parking much less of an inconvenience from tomorrow.
“A number of tenants told us their customers were complaining about parking here and we wanted to do something to make a change,” Sandawi said, adding “now we have fully tested the system, we can already see the difference it will make.”
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