Abu Dhabi drivers paying hundreds of dirhams a month for car cleaning to avoid fines

Vehicles that are deemed by Abu Dhabi Municipality to be ‘disfiguring the city image and public health’ are routinely towed away with the owner ordered to pay Dh3,000 in fines and fees to have the vehicle released from the impound yard.

A Mini Cooper in Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi. Some residents are being fined and their cars being towed away for as a result of dirty and or abandoned cars being left in car parks around the capital. Delores Johnson / The National
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ABU DHABI // Residents are paying hundreds of dirhams each month to have their cars washed while they are out of the country to avoid them being impounded for being too dusty.

Vehicles that are deemed by Abu Dhabi Municipality to be “disfiguring the city image and public health” are routinely towed away and the owner ordered to pay Dh3,000 in fines and fees to release it from the impound yard.

Faced with having to pay between Dh3,600 and Dh7,200 per month to park at Abu Dhabi International Airport, motorists are turning to cleaning firms which, for around Dh300, will wash a car parked in a residential neighbourhood three times a month while the owner is abroad.

Bishoy, who works for the Musaffah-based car wash company Supersonic, said the service was popular.

“We will charge Dh100 for one exterior wash only. To be on the safe side, a wash every 10 days will be more than enough to keep your car clean and avoid unnecessary fines. We send our cleaner to your place. But if you bring your car at my shop we would charge only Dh25.”

Motorists who pay Dh800 for an annual Mawaqif parking permit complained they are not exempt from the impound rule if their car gets dirty. For some, the extra few hundred dirhams cost on top of plane tickets is too much and many opt to call in favours from friends and family.

“Our parked vehicles are taken care of by my relatives and friends when we travel back home for holidays,” said Ajeeb Paravoor. “No matter for how long we stay there they keep cleaning as required.”

The engineer, who has lived in the UAE for more than two decades, returns the favour when his friends are out of town, paying Dh30 for their cars to be cleaned.

“Even for me and my friends it’s a big headache to pay a parking ticket every day as I live as a bachelor in the city and am not entitled to obtain a resident’s only parking spot,” sais Mr Paravoor, who lives in Khalidiya.

“We can’t do anything but clean our cars,” said Pakistani Kashif Baig. “We follow rules. I persuade my friends to do the washing of my car and in return, I do the same for them. Sometimes I ask the building guard to do it.”

Al Zahiya resident Sabeeh Haider urged authorities to introduce a long-term covered parking where residents can pay and park for a month.

“Most of Abu Dhabi’s buildings lack basement or reserved parking spots for tenants so we have to obtain Mawaqif’s resident’s only parking permits,” said Mr Haider. “We pay huge rents and annual parking fees but the municipality will fine if our cars are dirty.”

However, British expatriate Tom Thomas said it was every driver’s responsibility to keep their vehicle clean and follow the rules.

“Everyone should be a responsible citizen and keep the city clean. If they can pay Dh800 for a year’s parking why they can’t pay Dh15 to Dh20 to clean the car?

“Nobody likes dirty cars, it doesn’t look good.”