Hot and out: With no air-conditioning and no seats in bus stops, passengers brave it in the open Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ XPRESS

Dubai: Commuters using RTA buses say faulty or non-existent air-conditioning in bus stops have made travel in the extreme summer heat an ordeal.

“It’s like a blast furnace. Try sitting inside for a minute,” challenged a commuter waiting to board a bus to his work place from the bus stop near the Al Jaffliya metro station.

“I have been seeing this for almost a year now every Sunday on my way to church. The fact that there are no seats inside makes me feel perhaps we are supposed to wait outside the compartment,” said another woman.

And this isn’t an isolated case. XPRESS found a number of bus stops around town without AC, with temperatures in some stops in the high 40s, well past mid-day and hours closer to sunset.

“They turn off the ACs in all bus-stops post 7PM and it becomes unbearable after that,” said Indian executive Hanif at a bus stop in Bur Dubai.

“The AC in this compartment doesn’t work six out of 10 times,” alleged Nigerian businessman Fabian at bus stop in Al Nahda. “I am glad it’s working now,” he said.

Nagesh, an Indian bank executive who relies heavily on the RTA bus system for daily sales visits said: “The AC in the bus-stop opposite Lamcy Plaza hasn’t been working for the last three months and I have no choice but to wait outside for the bus.”

Reacting to the commuters complaints an RTA spokesperson said: “Some of the shelters has limitation of access to infrastructure in which alternative source of energy are being studied to provide the level of comfort to all users. Definite solutions are studied to evaluate the best possible solution for enhancing the performance of the shelters using renewable power sources.”

The RTA said the problem of lack of a roof or shade at certain bus stops is also being addressed. “As part of our strategic plan to provide a comfortable and convenient service to the residents of Dubai, we are currently installing shades in most of the heavy passenger generation points such as waiting platforms at bus stations which will be totally sun-protected during hot months,” the spokesperson added.