Bahrain to get more parking meters
Manama, January 31, 2011
Bahrain could soon witness a massive increase in car parking meters, with hundreds of new ones about to be introduced across the country.
The Works and Interior ministries are planning to privatise the meters, with a specialist company set to provide, operate and maintain them for a slice of the cash they generate.
The rest of the money will go to the Finance Ministry for inclusion in the national budget.
Income from existing parking meters stands at BD124,000 a year, but that figure is expected to significantly increase with the introduction of new computerised meters.
There are plans to dramatically increase the number of parking meters - with an additional 302 on the way in Muharraq, which now has 60, and an additional 1,133 planned in Manama, where there are currently 1,209.
There are no parking meters at present in Juffair, Seef District, Isa Town or Riffa, but hundreds of new meters are also planned in these areas.
Juffair is set to get 105 parking meters, while Seef will get 30, Isa Town 702 and Riffa 430.
However, authorities are still waiting for the country's five municipal councils to approve the plan before it can go ahead.
'We are still in negotiations with the government on the mechanism of implementing the new meters system,' said Manama Municipal Council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
'The government wants to privatise meters, but we think that privatisation is losing possible revenue that the national budget could be getting.
'We are fighting to have the municipalities get the revenue and us running the meters ourselves, with the equipment just being bought from the provider and maintenance paid for if needed.
'In all cases, traffic policemen will continue their role in issuing tickets to those who don't pay or have exceeded their paid time.'
He said an obstacle was that all councils must agree to a single plan to introduce the meters nationwide before it could happen.
'This will be done within the upcoming month and hopefully the old mechanic meters will be removed and gradually replaced,' said Mansoor.
'There are specific detailed locations for the new meters, but we may change them according to feasibility.'
Mansoor, who is also the council's financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman, stressed there were no plans to scrap parking meters - despite complaints that they were unnecessary.
'People shopping in the old Manama suq or the surrounding areas - who usually take up to an hour - will be left with no parking space (if there are no meters), as employees (working in the area) would take them for up to eight hours,' he explained.
'The new meters can be easily used with cash or credit cards as people will be able to select an estimated time for their stay, pay for it and then take the time card and put it directly on their front windshield to be seen.
'We have no plans to change the current system in which parking on public holidays and Fridays are free.'-TradeArabia News Service