JEDDAH: The pay-and-park system in downtown Balad has been taking many motorists, especially car drivers who cannot read or write English, by surprise. Vehicles being towed away from the parking area by the authorities is a regular scene.
The Jeddah municipality introduced the system, some months ago, to provide better parking facilities at SR3 an hour. The paid parking area extends from the intersection of King Abdulaziz Street with Al-Dhab Street to Al-Baieh Square. Vehicles parked without a slip from a pay park meter are towed away by authorities and the motorists end up paying fines.
A survey by this correspondent in the area found that a large number of drivers did not know about the paid parking scheme. “I didn’t notice the paid parking signboard. In fact, I was very happy to find parking space near the market when I came here. I am uneducated and can't read or write. How will I know about this new rule,” Abdullah Baksh, a driver who works for a family, told Arab News.
Mohammed Sageer Ahmed, another driver, also showed ignorance about the ticket that needs to be collected from the parking meter nearby. “I never paid for parking whenever I came to Balad earlier. I don’t know about the new system as I never paid attention to it. I am also not so educated that I can read English. They should write in Urdu and Hindi as well because many drivers working for families don’t know Arabic or English,” he said.
Another motorist, Arshad Shah, said it’s good that they put the meter but they should launch an awareness campaign about the new system. "We have never paid for parking in past 40 years, and now suddenly they want us to pay in Balad. The municipality is making such efforts to streamline things, but most of the drivers are illiterate and need to be educated through means other than signboards in English and Arabic,” he said.
Another motorist, Saleh Abdulaziz, also pleaded ignorance to the paid parking system but wants the fee to be lowered. "It's a good effort by the municipality but they should keep the price low as not every motorist can pay SR3 per hour," he said.
Projects to provide parking area for 541 cars in Balad and 105 cars on Palestine Street are under way.

Fouzia Khan
Mon, 2015-05-18 02:40
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