Dubai: Air-conditioned bus shelters, the city's next landmark development, will be ready before next summer.
"Dubai will be the first city in the world to offer the luxury of air-conditioned bus shelters for passengers," said Mattar Al Tayer, Chief Executive of the city's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), at the launching ceremony of the prototype shelter.
Al Tayer, however, instructed the builders to improve seats and the air-conditioning system because he along with other officials started sweating while sitting inside the prototype shelter at the launch ceremony.
"The aim is to lure people into using the city's public transport, and ease the pressure on its crowded roads," he said.
The project is being developed in coordination with the private sector as part of the RTA's plans to privatise a number of services. The RTA awarded the contract to Right Angel Media for the shelters on a Build Operate and Transfer basis.
RTA will earn Dh17.5 million per annum from the company Right Angel Media. The company will earn through advertisements in and outside the shelters and vending machines. A total investment of Dh210 million will be made by the investor over the next 10 years.
Some 500 air-conditioned bus shelters will be installed all over the city by May next year and the rest of the bus shelters will be gradually replaced with the air-conditioned ones.
There are around 1,200 bus shelters in Dubai.
"We want to make sure that an increasing number of residents should use the public transport system, which will in turn ease the flow of traffic. The provision of air-conditioned bus shelters will not only go a long way in achieving this objective but it will also complement Dubai's rapid pace of development," Al Tayer noted.
Abdul Aziz Malek, Director of the Public Transport Department at RTA, said: "'The bus shelters have been designed keeping the comfort and requirements of commuters in mind. The new shelters with an array of amenities will prove beneficial to the large number of commuters, who currently have to wait for buses in the scorching heat."
At present only a few bus shelters in Dubai offer shade and waiting for the bus is an unpleasant experience. During peak summer months, average temperature is around 40 degrees Celsius.
Comfort zones: All Dubai terminals to be upgraded
The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) plans to build air-conditioned luxury bus terminals to replace the existing bus stations in Dubai.
Abdul Aziz Malek, Director of the Public Transport Department at RTA, said all nine bus stations in Bur Dubai and Deira would have multi-storey air-conditioned bus terminals. The terminals will have comfortable seating in the waiting area, restaurants, cafeterias and shopping area. A parking area will also be provided.
The new terminals will cater to the increasing demand for bus services. They will serve both intra-city and inter-emirate bus services.