The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai say that the issue of drivers struggling to pay for parking permits via its SMS mParking service is a result of telecom network incapacity.
Regional newspaper Gulf News reports that dozens of motorists are being hit with fines by RTA inspectors as they cannot pay for their permits in time.
The service, which allows drivers to pay for their virtual parking permit using their Etisalat and Du mobile phones by sending an SMS, is meant to take the hassle out of finding a parking meter and the correct coinage.
Adel Al Marzouqi, RTA's director of parking, has attributed request failures to a telecom glitch. He said that lines are being jammed by the requests, which is an unfortunate feature of SMS technology. He added that the RTA are working with telecom operators to improve the situation.
Al Marzouqi said that those drivers who have already picked up fines due to the outage can call the RTA call centre at 8009090 and make a complaint, and if their problems are genuine then the fines will be cancelled.
He suggested that those motorists who continue to have issues should look to one of the five other ways of paying for parking, including the new Smart Parking application launched recently on various smartphone platforms.
The Smart Parking system works independently of the SMS system, with payments made through debit or credit cards. Smart Parking is part of a series of mobile applications launched by the RTA in recent weeks, highlighting the continued shift towards electronic payments.