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Posted On: 15 September 2009 12:05 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Smart parking for smart fee

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Motorists who want to avail of the VIP parking facility at the Souq Waqif have to shell out QR100 when authorities start collecting charges, most probably after Eid al-Fitr, Gulf Times has learnt. After the installation of automated smart parking gates at the souq, personnel have started manning the exit points as part of a trial run that is expected to last until Eid. Visitors to the traditional market must now punch for an entry ticket priced at QR3 before they can enter the premises. The smart parking system, similar to the one at Doha Airport, was installed at the souq about two months ago but has not been operational until now. A notice at the souq says the charge “is calculated at the regular at QR1,” causing some confusion amongst the motorists. According to a source, this could mean that every additional hour would be charged at the rate of QR1. Additionally, if the ticket is lost, the recovery charge is QR75, on top of the regular fee, while a special VIP parking ticket is priced at QR100 per vehicle. “We are only expected to start charging after the Eid,” a staff manning one of the checkpoints told Gulf Times. With the increase in the popularity of the niche market, finding a parking slot at Souq Waqif during the peak evening hours, especially on weekends, had become a real problem, the effort sometimes taking as much as half an hour before a parking slot could be found, visitors said. The new system, installation of which has been accompanied with the marking of slots, is aimed at reducing the traffic congestion at the souq. Some visitors, however, maintain they have to weave between the vehicles as the new marked spaces are too small especially when one is “trying to manoeuvre between a Land Cruiser on the left and a Hummer to the right.” Looking at the brighter side of the situation, a frequent visitor to the souq said: “Hopefully, with the new system in place only those with real business to the market will enter the parking lot. Making the slot a notch smaller might keep the trucks and bigger vehicles at bay too.”