Dubai: With the number of non-operational or out of order bus shelters across different areas in Dubai increasing this summer, leaving regular commuters sweating in sweltering heat, the Roads and Transport Agency is planning to tap solar power to meet the demand.
Though the problem of non-operational bus shelters has existed for some time now, it has exacerbated with Ramadan falling in summer.
I am a regular traveller by bus and metro, the bus shelter near my house in Karama had been working alright, but for last one week it hasn’t been working. It is very difficult to wait for buses inside the shelter as it is hotter than outside
Out of the 600 bus shelters across the city at least 50 or 60 shelters do not have an air conditioner as yet, while there are several others whose air conditioners are not working.
“I am a regular traveller by bus and metro, the bus shelter near my house in Karama had been working alright, but for last one week it hasn’t been working. It is very difficult to wait for buses inside the shelter as it is hotter than outside,” said Merv Thomas, who has been a long-time resident of Dubai.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) which has outsourced the shelter service to a private company admitted that there are a few problems “but majority of shelters are working alright.”
“There could be maintenance issues with some of the shelters, which is understandable given this is peak summer. It is not easy to maintain 600 AC bus shelters in this kind of heat. You won’t find such a service anywhere in the world. It is our pioneer project and we are doing our best to keep it working,” said Eisa Al Dossari, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency.
However, he added people should also do well to take care of the working bus shelters.
“We have a 100-strong dedicated maintenance team that goes around to check the ACs regularly, but more than that it is for people to take care of the shelters as they are the users. They should make sure that they don’t fiddle with any thing and keep the doors closed, ACs will stop working if the doors are left open,” added Al Dossari, urging people to do their bit.
Apart from those that are not working there are several bus shelters which don’t have the ACs yet, and commuters feel the all-metal shelters are in no way habitable without ACs.
“The Bus shelter in front of Al Farouq School in Abu Hail has been there for a long time but there is no AC and we still have to wait outside in this heat. It is very difficult especially during Ramadan,” said Azmatullah Lodhi, who is a regular commuter.
Al Dossari admitted there are still a few stations which don’t have ACs, he said the authority is trying to work with different entities to sort the issue.
“There are issues of power and cabling in some areas. We are working with authorities concerned, we are also exploring different alternative sources of energy for these shelters, including solar energy, which would be tried at a few stations,” informed Al Dosari.
He insisted that the non-operational stations don’t exceed more than 3 to 4 per cent of the total.