DUBAI // Managements of shopping malls are exploring how to prevent their car parks becoming park-and-ride facilities for Dubai Metro passengers once the train line opens.
Mall of the Emirates will have an air-conditioned walkway direct to its station and management are already looking at ways to deter motorists from simply coming to the mall to park.
“The majority of people spend about three hours in the mall, and we care for the majority of people and don’t want our car park to be used as a park-and-ride,” said Fuad Sharaf, the mall’s vice president.
“At the end of the day the mall is made for the shoppers. It is about managing the parking in a proper way. I will not say it is a paid parking system, because our intention is not to make money out of parking.”The mall is adding 750 car park spaces to its current 6,300. By the end of the year, 200 spaces will have been added, with the rest coming next year.Deira City Centre, which is run by the Majid al Futtaim Group, which also operates Mall of the Emirates, is expecting an increase of foot traffic after the Metro launches. Officials there said that the mall was considering “various options” to manage parking, but that nothing had been decided.
Management at the Burjuman has already created a pre-emptive plan to keep parking free for its customers. Last year, the mall introduced paid parking except on Fridays and public holidays. It is also free for customers who spend more than Dh100 at the mall. “Especially where we are, the Burjuman will be the one of the biggest stations, with both lines crossing eventually, and we almost anticipate this is going to be the Piccadilly Circus of Dubai,” said Bruce Von Kaufmann, operations manager of Burjuman and Reef Mall.
Parking at the Burjuman costs Dh10 per hour and is free between 12:30 and 2:30pm, and after 6pm. “We will let the Metro open, gauge the impact and then make the necessary adjustments if any adjustments are required,” Mr Von Kaufmann said.
Thanks for saying --although in a circumventive way-- what we've been trying to say all along; that the car parks at the respective stations are inadequate in numbers. Otherwise, why are malls expecting they'll be flooded with Metro commuters who will want to park at their lots? other question is, those who will be deterred from parking at the Malls to ride to the Metro; will they have any other options? will they eventually just give up and drive? You know, the RTA has been saying it will put new buses to serivce on new routes, so I tried to see if these routes has been decided upon and if there's a map on the RTA's website. But the Rail Agency is currently busy narrating its success stories of tendering the retail spaces at the Metro stations (hooray! recession be damned!) It's still early to draw any conclusions or to pass judgements though. But the pre-emptive measures the Malls are trying to take are really telling. MOE management think average visitors stay up to 3 hours in the Mall. I wonder if there are real statistics to back this up. I do go to the Mall of the Emirates everyday on my launch break, and no Sir it's not 3 hours. I can stretch it up to 2 hours (which happens often), because the Bosses are lenient, but I can't spend 3 hours just to prove I'm not a Park&Ride trespasser. I predict they will eventually end up making it paid parking. Alas. I remember when the Burjuman intersection was boarded up and the roads in and around it were diverted on 5th of May 2005, I remember the day well because that was the day the construction on the Metro had really began, and I remember it because life has never been the same since in Bur Dubai. And here too I expect a drastic change to Mall dynamics once the driveless train starts accepting passengers onboard. We could always hope it's change for the better.
*The title of the original article is: Malls braced for Metro riders