ABU DHABI: If finding a parking was not hard enough, Abu Dhabi motorists have to now contend with another challenge - finding a coin that could be accepted by the parking meters.
Residents said the parking machines installed by the Department of Tourism (DoT) are not compatible with the new one dirham coins.
“I was slapped a parking fine just because the machine kept on rejecting the new coins. I crossed the road and went to a restaurant to exchange my new coins for old ones. But by that time I had already got a fine,” said Egyptian Abdullah Omar.
An Indian woman recounted a similar experience. “I tried four coins but they all got rejected. I thought there was something wrong with the machine so I walked down to another machine at the far end of the road. Here too, the coins got rejected. I rushed back to my car but it was too late. There was a fine slip stuck under windsreen wiper,” she said.
The UAE Central Bank issued the lightweight one dirham coin on October 30 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first shipment of oil from Abu Dhabi.
The new coin weighs exactly 6.4g and has a diametre of 29mm. It is lighter than the older coin which is still in circulation.
“The new coins are available everywhere. Most supermarkets give new coins as change. “If we cannot use these coins in parking metres, then they are of no use because parking is a big headache for us,” said another resident, Prahlad Unni.
Parking costs Dh2 per hour and Dh15 for the whole day.
Grocery and supermarket staff said customers approach them throughout the day with requests to exchange their new coins with old ones. “We get at least a dozen people asking for exchanges. By evening we have only new coins left in our cash box, Faisal Cheriyakunithala of Desert Rose Cafeteria said.
The Mawaqif call centre said the machines are being updated to suit the new coins. “We are getting complaints from a lot of people. And we are already in the process of updating the parking machines so that the new coins are accepted,” the customer care staff said.