Coins in demand for Jeddah parking
Visitors to the historic Balad area in downtown Jeddah expressed dismay over the paid parking system that came into effect on Tuesday because it only accepts either electronic payments or uncommon 50 halala coins.
The parking charge is SR3 per hour.
Visitors said they could not find enough coins to pay for their parking time. The machine can accept payments to an electronic prepaid account.
Visitors called for improving the system, providing enough coins and spreading awareness about the scheme before applying penalties.
The paid parking area extends from the intersection of King Abdulaziz Street with Al-Dhab Street until Al-Baieh Square.
Saleh Al-Shihri, a Saudi citizen, told Al-Madinah newspaper on Sunday that he had parked his car in a prepaid lot to visit one of the banks in downtown Jeddah. “When I came back, I saw one of the parking supervisors writing a traffic violation ticket for me worth SR75.
He also took a picture of my car,” Al-Shihri said.
He said that he tried to pay the fine through the machine but it refused the payment.
“The supervisor tried to do the same but he also failed. I had to put some extra credit in my prepaid account to be able to pay the fine,” added Al-Shihri.
Abdul Jaleel Mohammed, an employee of Libyan Airlines, said he faced the same problem when he wanted to visit a nearby bank to finalize some procedures concerning pilgrims from his country.
“After a long wait under the hot sun, I was able to collect SR3 in coins and paid for my one hour parking,” he said.
Ahmed Bakadeem, a Saudi, said this was the first and the last time he would be using the paid parking lot in the historic area.
“I will go to the other parking lots such as those in Corniche because they are not complicated.”
Bakadeem said the company operating the pay and display system in downtown Jeddah was exploiting low-income people who frequent this area.
The parking lot’s pay and display system operates from 8 a.m. to 11p.m., Saturday to Thursday.
Salim Akhdar, member of the Jeddah Municipal Council, called for providing enough coins at the parking lot for the convenience of the visitors.
“Many countries, including Turkey, have provided large quantities of coins in their pay and display parking areas,” he said.
According to the system, a motorist should purchase a ticket from pay and display machines for the amount of time needed. The ticket should be clearly displayed on the side of the car’s dashboard, otherwise the driver will receive a ticket for SR75.
In case of repeat violations, the car may be towed away.