One in every four petrol stations in Dubai and Sharjah has faulty air and water-filling machines, which frustrates motorists who are in desperate need of these services. Image Credit: Faisal Masudi/Gulf News

Dubai: At least one in every four petrol stations in Dubai and Sharjah has faulty air- and water-filling machines, which may leave motorists in a dangerous situation.

It is common for motorists to visit petrol stations to pump air in car tyres or top up water — but many have to first hunt for a station with functional machines.

“I was dangerously low on air and drove to two stations in a row but still couldn’t find a working air pump. Sometimes your car can overheat and people depend on the stations thinking they will be able to put some water in their car radiator until they make it to a garage,” said an Arab motorist in Dubai.

“But it’s not rare to find that you have to drive to around before you find everything in working order.”

In addition, virtually all stations have issues with washrooms.

Gulf News visited at least 20 stations at random recently in Dubai and Sharjah. Five stations had out of order air-water machines, and 19 had washroom-related issues.

That suggests at least 25 per cent of stations have faulty machines, and at least 95 per cent of washrooms have issues such as missing toilet paper or soap, unclean and wet seats, or faulty hand dryers.

These services are provided free of charge to motorists.

Some stations had put up “out of order” signs on the machines, but other malfunctioning units had no such notices.

“This machine is currently out of order. We apologise for any inconvenienced caused” and “Sorry, air is temporarily out of service” read some posters.

In almost every case, the hoses were lying tangled on the ground instead of being properly secured on hooks or being rolled back into dedicated slots in the machine. “Please roll up hose after use,” a sticker read on several machines.

Washrooms too were in need of servicing, cleaning or repairs. Virtually all of them had dirty, wet floors. Toilet seats and sinks were dirty or wet; toilet paper was rarely available; and liquid hand soap dispensers were often empty.

Many of the issues such as tangled hoses or messy washrooms are apparently caused by motorists themselves. A manager at the corporate office of one of the station brands said: “Many people abuse these services and make a mess in the washrooms. Our staff members regularly clean the washrooms and log their work.”

However, a motorist said: “Then why are some petrol stations in good condition and not others? Yes, some people are not courteous, but the stations’ managements should also look after these services more closely.”

An immediate comment from the managements of three station brands was not available.