Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dumped cars

You'll remember the silly story, long-discredited, about 3,000 cars abandoned at Dubai airport by fleeing expats.

It conjoured, as it was meant to, pictures of streams of refugees fleeing in panic. Dubai was doomed, being reclaimed by the desert. It was all part of the Dubai-bashing rumours that followed the earlier breathless and equally unbalanced 'miracle of Dubai' reports.

The rumour spreaders could be having another field day now because there seem to be even more abandoned cars around the streets, parked in the same place gathering dust. There seems to be hardly a street without at least one.

But the reality is that many of the owners are simply away on holiday and after a few weeks you'll see most of them cleaned up and moved.

But not all.

Like this one, which has been in the same place for months.

There were 3,000 vehicles abandoned, but all across the city not at the airport. And the figure has to be put into context. In a normal year there are about 1,500 vehicles abandoned.

It's a high number but it's all part of the unique society we have with eighty or higher percent of the population being expatriate, here as temporary guest workers.

It also reflects the legal structure regarding bankruptcies and debts and the antiquated payments system.

The mix means that the old-fashioned post-dated cheque system is the norm. People might pay for their year's rent by a number of post-dated cheques - but if they have insufficient funds later in the year, because they lost their job for example, it's off to Al Slammer. Non-payment of car loans gets the same result.

In their home countries the owners who can't meet the payments have their cars repossessed.

Here if they lose their jobs their best option is to take off back home, leaving their belongings and debts behind. If they stay and try to sort it out the problem is that they will almost certainly end up in Al Slammer.

That's the real story. That the law and the way of doing business with post-dated cheques really needs to be changed.

An interesting story earlier in the year on abandoned vehicles was in The National.


Anonymous said...

There are a fair few like thus in the underground carparks in JLT....

Nice Jag XKR but so covered in dust, you couldnt see in the windows...

luxematic said...

Makes me think about why the owners would just abandon cars like these in the first place.

ZeTallGerman said...

seabee, have you seen the hundreds of cars parked behind a signboard on Sheikh Zayed Road? I just spotted them yesterday. They're on the right side (heading towards Abu Dhabi) just before you reach Media City; hundreds of dusty cars lined-up on a sand patch... I didn't see a fence around it so it didn't look like a police impound... any ideas?

Seabee said...

ZTG, no I haven't been along SZR there for a while so I haven't seen it. I'll try to have a look later this week.