Coming soon: Pay for parking in Dubai with credit cards

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ParkingFrom coins to the newest technologies; the parking meters of the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) are under constant revision

“The Roads and Transport Authority continuously evaluates customer requirements and convenient payment methods. Therefore, the use of credit cards in parking meters can be an additional option in the future,” said Maitha Obaid Bin Udai, CEO of the Traffic and Roads Agency, RTA.

Currently, parking meters of the RTA accept coins, the Nol Card (silver, gold, and blue), NOL co-branded cards such as ENBD Go4It and the EIB RTA card, parking seasonal cards, and parking prepaid cards (Dh30, Dh50, and Dh100) as a method of payment in the paid parking zones. However, new payment options are a possibility, said Maitha. “In our efforts to meet customer expectations latest technologies are under consideration for new payment options.” Although payment with coins is the oldest method to pay for a parking space, it remains a popular option, and parking meters regularly need to be updated to adjust to the issuance of new coins.

In Dubai, all parking meters were updated to accept the new Dh1 coin by the end of February, 2013. However, customers could still face difficulty as some valid coins are not accepted. This may occur in 5 per cent of all valid coins inserted in parking meters. “A minimum of 95 per cent of the valid coins will be successfully accepted by parking meters,” said Maitha.

Customers have regularly complained about the rejection of valid coins, and tweeters have inquired about the matter on the RTA Twitter page. “If it’s legal tender, it should be accepted! Simple!” wrote somebody with the twitter handle @EmmaPinkyB.

Maitha explained: “Parking meters include a special device for coin recognition and validate the coin based on pre-loaded and programmed valid coins types. These coin checker devices use different technologies of coin checking; mechanical and optimal. Different combinations of size, weight, layout structure metallurgical composition cause distinct patterns when coins are passed through this device. The distinct pattern of a particular coin is called its electro-mechanical signature.

“If a coin does not match a known set of signatures stored in the machine, it is rejected. Similar coins will generate similar electro-mechanical signatures and as a standard practice some tolerance is applied on the pattern to provide a high rate of acceptance on valid coins and avoid a high rate of acceptance of foreign and other coins. Any change in the coins’ electro-mechanic signature results in rejection.”

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