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Navigating Parking Payment Options in Dubai

Last Updated On Thu Mar 28 2024

Most people drive in Dubai, and if you don’t yet, there are easy ways to get a car. There are plenty of parking options available throughout the city, and just as many possible payment methods are available, as well.

From smartphone apps to traditional parking meters, here's a comprehensive guide on how to pay for parking in Dubai: 

1. Dubai RTA App

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) offers a seamless experience through its app, and services include paying for parking. Here’s an easy step-by-step: 

  1. Download the RTA Dubai app from the App Store or Google Play Store.

  2. Register for an account and add your vehicle details.

  3. Locate the parking zone using the app's map feature.

  4. Enter the parking duration time you want

  5. Input your debit or credit card’s information and complete the payment

2. Pay by SMS

Dubai’s mPay is probably the most famous parking payment method of them all: it allows you to pay for parking via SMS. The instructions can be found on the signs throughout parking areas in the city, and the process is simple, see below:

  1. Register your car by sending the plate details in an SMS to the specified number on the parking sign

  2. Once registered, you’re able to send an SMS to the parking zone number anytime you want to park

  3. The SMS must include the parking zone number and desired parking duration to initiate payment.

  4. You'll then receive a confirmation SMS, and the parking fee will be deducted from your mobile credit or added to your phone bill.

3. Pay by WhatsApp

The Pay by WhatsApp service is fairly new but similar to the mPay: instead of an SMS, you’ll send a WhatsApp message to the RTA’s official number: 

  1. Save the RTA's official WhatsApp number in your contacts.

  2. Send a message with your vehicle plate details and the parking zone number.

  3. Follow the prompts to confirm the parking duration and complete the payment securely.

You must register first, as we described above for the mPay. 

Also you can read: Mastering the RTA Driving Test in the UAE: A Comprehensive Guide

4. Parking Meters

If you want to go the traditional way, you can use parking meters to pay for parking, as well. You will find them at some locations, and the process is very straightforward: 

  1. Choose your parking spot and note the zone number

  2. Locate the nearest parking meter

  3. Follow the process: input parking duration time, etc.

  4. Insert coins or use a prepaid card to pay

  5. Get the receipt and display it on the vehicle dashboard to avoid any fines.

The NOL cards, primarily used for public transportation, can also be utilized for parking payments in the meter or payment machines available. 

Parking Payment for Vehicles from Different Emirates

If you're driving a vehicle registered in a different Emirate, the same parking payment methods will apply when you’re in Dubai. Just ensure your Emirate doesn’t have any specific requirements you need to meet first. 

Parking Costs in Dubai

Parking rates in Dubai range from AED 2 to AED 4 per hour for standard parking zones, with premium areas charging higher tariffs. If you’re using the RTA app, SMS, or WhatsApp pay, you can easily extend your parking time by sending a message or making an extra payment in the app.

If you used a meter, topping up is also easy: follow the instructions described above to pay for extra parking time. 

Seasonal Parking Cards: A Cost-Effective Solution for Regular Parkers

For those who constantly pay for parking, there’s a more convenient solution: the Seasonal Parking Cards. These provide unlimited parking access within specific zones, so you won’t need to keep extending your parking. 

Here's what you need to know about seasonal parking cards:

Cost and Zone Coverage

Seasonal parking cards are available for purchase at different rates: it all depends on the chosen zone and parking duration. Prices range from AED 400 to AED 1,200 per month, with discounts often offered for longer-term subscriptions.

How They Work

Drivers can purchase a Seasonal Parking Card at an RTA customer service center or authorized kiosk. There, they will choose their desired zone and duration for the parking card. 

The card is activated and linked to the vehicle’s registration details, and should then be displayed on the vehicle’s dashboard to avoid fines. The cards can be renewed or extended, but that depends on the demand and availability, so plan ahead. 

Navigating parking in Dubai is much easier than in most cities, as the emirate makes it a seamless experience for the drivers.  Whether you opt for the convenience of smartphone apps or prefer the simplicity of traditional parking meters, ensuring compliance with parking regulations guarantees a smooth driving experience. If you’re looking for a convenient way to get a car, view car rental option now.

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