RTA’s new iPhone apps to make mParking easier


By Shafaat Ahmed  www.khaleejtimes.com

A motorist using the iPhone will not have to remember the confusing procedure of mParking any more. The new RTA app comes with a small form with clear fields to punch in the required details.

Dubai taxiAs if that was not enough, the app saves the plate number when it is punched in once. In fact, it has the capacity to store more numbers if a person has more than one vehicle. The application also has the ability to find out the code of the zone where a car is parked in case the person has forgotten the zone number. The application searches the geographically-divided zones through the built in GPS and can locate the car, if the area or street name is typed in.

The app is part of a larger package developed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and comes on the face of criticism by motorists over the troubles of mParking. The package has been tested and approved by the Apple Inc. and is ready for a free download from iPhone’s App store.

“We have developed this application up to the elevated standards of Apple and the app is now ready to use. As a regulator and transport services provider, we have always wanted to be pioneers in offering technological solutions. This is the first time in the region a body like us has launched such a service,” said Abdullah Al Madani, CEO of RTA’s Corporate Technical Support Services Sector, speaking exclusively to Khaleej Times.

Apart from mParking, the apps package includes taxi booking services, fare calculator and information about public transport. The package which is called ‘RTA Services’ is divided into two main components — ‘Road Users’ and ‘Public Transport Users’.

The Road Users section has three basic items ‘Places of Interest’, ‘RTA Service Centres’, and ‘mParking’. The ‘Places of Interest’ segment has all the details about Dubai’s tourism spots, malls, souqs, police stations, hospitals, government offices and so on.  The ‘RTA Service Centres’ segment provides information on RTA’s services and the location and working hours of its centres. The ‘mParking’ segment facilitates the payment of parking fee in an easy and user-friendly way.

The second of the two main components is the ‘Public Transport Users,’ which is divided into ‘Nearest stations’, ‘Taxi Booking’ and ‘Fare Calculator’.

The ‘Nearest Stations’ item provides details about Dubai’s entire Public Transport network, which includes metro, buses, water buses, ferries, abras and taxis. Details include location of stations, metro timings, frequency, bus stops, bus routes, water bus routes and fares.

The second item in this segment is the ‘Taxi Booking’ which can be availed of by filling in details like name, mobile number, origin and destination in a simplified form.

The third item in the ‘Public Transport’ segment is the fare calculator, which is very useful and has the ability to give fare details according to the given origin and destination.

The package also has the ability to create a profile of the user, where one can save all the particulars like the plate numbers one owns, the licence number and  the nol card number, and the application will use these details for the processing of the services.

Enlisting the benefit of the services Al Madani said, “Currently we have services like taxi booking and mParking through sms but people find them a bit confusing because one has to remember how to write the sms with all the codes. Now we have simplified the procedure.”

Al Madani added that RTA is focused on providing more mobile solutions to its customers and the application comes as a first step towards fulfilling this strategy. This is the second time RTA has launched an iPhone app, catering to a growing number of iPhone users. The first app was launched last year but was confined to metro related information only.

Giving the reasons for preferring iPhone over the other mobile platforms to launch its applications, Al Madani said that over 30 per cent of RTA’s mobile customers are iPhone users.

However, he said that RTA is also planning to launch similar application packages for Blackberry and android platforms soon.