Shopping malls can levy a maximum parking fee of QR70 for a day, according to new rate structure prepared by a committee at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC).
Local Arabic daily Al Sharq has also reported that motorists will not be charged for the first 30 minutes from the time they enter the parking area of a mall.
On April 2, the MEC had said in a statement that it had devised a new fee structure to regulate parking and valet service charges at commercial complexes and souqs. The ministry had fixed a ceiling for such charges as part of the move.
Providing the details of the fee structure yesterday, the daily said the new charges would be as follows: QR2 per hour for the first two hours, QR3 per hour for the third and fourth hours and QR5 for every additional hour thereafter, with a maximum fee of QR70 for a day.
Visitors will be charged for parking only after the passage of 30 minutes from the time they enter the parking area of a mall. Also, if a person fails to find a parking slot within the first half an hour, s/he will be able to leave the parking area without paying anything.
Further, the new fee structure stipulates that a fine of QR70 is to be paid by a motorist for losing the parking ticket.
Rates have also been fixed for valet services. The maximum fee will be QR30 for regular valet parking and QR60 for VIP valet parking.  
The MEC had earlier stressed that shopping malls should not impose or amend fees without its approval in accordance with the nature of their activity and its requirements and also obtain the approval of the committee that sets the maximum rate and profit margin.
Malls and commercial complexes were given 60 days to comply with the decree and avoid being subject to legal accountability and penalties, as reported by Gulf Times last month, citing the MEC statement.
The ministry issued the regulation after observing several cases where members of the public were charged mandatory fees. The new rule came into being after the above-mentioned committee carried out a detailed study of the matter and consulted other relevant authorities.
Shopping malls and commercial complexes that already charge customers for parking should refrain from collecting any additional fees without approval from the MEC once the decree comes into effect, according to the MEC statement. “All other malls and commercial complexes shall also refrain from imposing any fees on their visitors before obtaining the ministry’s approval.”
Under the regulations, commercial organisations and shopping malls that offer valet parking services will also be responsible for the safety of cars as well as any damage caused to the vehicles while in their possession.
Malls and markets have to clearly display a list of parking and valet service fees approved by the ministry at their entrances and should refrain from renting out parking spots to third parties without the MEC’s consent.
The MEC had not specified the fee structure or the ceiling in its statement last month.