Sharjah motorists are left with very few options but opt for either public parking or private paid parking lots which are mostly operated by licensed operators.
Sharjah has been expanding public parking spaces over the past many years and shutting down ‘free’ yards in order to provide residents with a proper parking space and also to maintain the aesthetic look of the emirate.
There are 57,000 spaces in Sharjah allocated for public parking, all of which are being monitored by inspection teams to ensure that they are not being misused.
In October, Sharjah Municipality announced an addition of 2,440 new parking spaces being converted into paid slots and shut down 53 empty sandy yards where people used to park.
Following increased demand and the closure of ‘free’ parking yards, some of the private parking operators have increased monthly rentals in Al Majaz and Al Khan areas. Moreover, the shortage of ‘free’ parking is also driven by some of the yards being acquired by private companies to construct buildings there.
“I have been parking in an empty yard for free for years. But that has been closed because it has been sold out to a company which is planning to carry out some construction work in the yard. Hundreds of other residents of Al Khan and Al Majaz used to park their vehicles in the yard. Now either they have opted for paid public parking or bought paid parking from the regulated private parking yards,” said Shehryar Khan, a Sharjah resident for over two decades.
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Abul Hasan, another Sharjah resident, said he bought a private paid parking slot in October because the yard where he used to park has been acquired by a regulated private paid parking company.
“Now, I’ve no option but to buy the parking slot. I’m paying Dh300 per month for the slot. But it’s a peace of mind because I’m assured of my parking slot when I go back from the office,” said Hasan.
In Sharjah, regulated private paid parking yards charge between Dh150 to Dh300, depending on the occupancy level at the yard.
Some of the regulated private yard operators charge Dh50 less provided the car owner hands over the keys to them. This allows them to accommodate more vehicles in the yard and boost their income.
“I was comfortable parking my car in the sandy yard where parking was free. But after I bought a new car, I started parking my car in the private paid parking yard next to my building because I didn’t want my new vehicle to be scratched by others. Safety of my car is very important for me now,” said Aimee, a Philippines national.
Abhijit Saran, also a long-time Sharjah resident, said the private parking operator increased his monthly rental by Dh50 to Dh250 after some of the ‘free’ yards in the vicinity were closed.
“It’s a business for them. As demand increases, so does the price. Many new car owners bought the space from the private parking operator,” said the sales executive.