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Abu Dhabi: Motorists use pesos in parking meters

Motorists using 12 times cheaper Phillippines coin to cheat Abu Dhabi parking metres

Abu Dhabi: Motorists are cheating parking meters in the capital by using coins from other countries, XPRESS can reveal.
The Philippines peso which is almost the same size and weight as the Dh1 coin is the most preferred currency as it is around 12 times cheaper, according to residents.
“I chanced upon two pesos in my wallet and I tried it at a parking meter. It worked. Now I do it often,†Scott Daniel (name changed), 38, told XPRESS.
Filipino expatriate Tegan Robosa (name changed), who works at a hospital, said he uses pesos because they are much cheaper than dirhams.

“I save 12 pesos on a dirham. Using two pesos instead of two dirhams means a daily saving of Dh24. It makes sense to me,†said Robosa.
Residents who spoke to XPRESS said they have also used Bahraini dinars, Turkish liras and Saudi riyals in the Mawaqif parking meters.

“I once got a Saudi riyal from a grocery. I inserted it along with a dirham at a parking machine, and to my surprise I got the ticket,†said Gopakumar P.K., a semi-government employee from India.
XPRESS verified the claims and found that at least four currencies including the peso and riyal were accepted by various parking machines. A comment from the Department of Transport (DoT) in Abu Dhabi that manages parking meters in the capital was not immediately available.
Ironically, the Mawaqif parking meters which are gobbling up coins of other nations were not accepting their own country’s new Dh1 coin until recently.
The issue was reported by XPRESS earlier this year following complaints by motorists.
Issued by the UAE Central Bank on October 30, 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first shipment of oil from Abu Dhabi, the new coin weighs 6.4gm and has a diameter of 29mm. But since it is lighter than the older coin, it was rejected.
The paid parking system was introduced in Abu Dhabi in 2009 to solve parking problems. Currently, there are 98,000 paid parking spaces in the city.
Parking zones in residential areas cost Dh2 an hour and Dh3 an hour in commercial zones.
Paid parking is applicable from 8am to midnight. Foreign coins finds their way into the market after expats who have returned from their home countries use them here. From the cash boxes of groceries, supermarkets and restaurants, these coins then change hands before reaching residents.
A worker at the Panaderia Manila Bakery in the Tourist Club area collected at least 50 coins from various countries in the last few months.
“These are all from our customers. We just keep them with us. Maybe they are not doing it on purpose,†said the Filipino staff, showing her collection of coins that include Indian rupees, British pounds and euros.
Similarly, Fahad Ali from India who runs Al Rahi Supermarket also has an impressive pool of coins he collected from customers.
“But no one has come to me so far asking for a peso or dinar in exchange of dirhams,†said Ali.

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On Saturday, 14 September 2013, 22:02, saba bukhari <sabasagar1@yahoo.com> wrote: