Commuters wait outside a bus shelter on Al Diyafah street as the air conditioning in the shelter stopped working. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Trials are underway to use solar energy to power and cool about 100 bus shelters after more than 160 air-conditioned shelters were left without power.

The trials will also look into changing the current design of the stands to allow air circulation, should cooling fail, according to officials from Right Angle Media, the authorised operator of bus shelters in the city.

A lack of power supply is the major cause behind non-operational shelters according to the firm.

Right Angle was contracted by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to operate the 650 air-conditioned bus shelters. The RTA  insists that non-working AC will be fixed immediately and complaints will be dealt with promptly.

“We have a system in place through which the maintenance team is alerted immediately if there are complaints and the ACs are fixed immediately. If there are power supply issues than it takes time. We are working to get power supply to all shelters,” said Yousuf Al Ali, CEO of the RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

Tamer Zaidan, Operations Manager at Right Angle said: “We know the RTA is trying to use solar energy to power the shelters but so far the trials seem to have been not so successful.

About 160 air conditioned bus shelters out of 650 in Dubai are currently without electricity. The number includes around 60 shelters where the power supply has been disconnected as they have proved unpopular among commuters and the decision to disconnect the power from their cooling system was made following a feasibility study.

“The fact of having no cooling system in the current bus shelter is particularly disturbing with the advent of summer, when temperatures inside the aluminium built shelters become unbearable without AC or other air circulation system,” he said.

Gulf News found at least half a dozen bus shelters on busy routes in Karama and Bur Dubai where the ACs were not working, although the stops are very popular.

“The AC in this bus shelter used to work until recently but not any more. The one on the other side of the road is still functional. We have complained to the RTA as well but there is no change,” Mohammad Abrar, a resident of Karama and a regular commuter, said.

Zaidan added: “We have a team of 150 technicians who work round-the-clock to maintain the bus shelters and if there are complaints we attend to them instantly.”

He urged people to call the RTA on 8009090 to complain about bus shelters without air conditioning.

As many as 1,500 public transport buses operate on about 100 routes in Dubai transporting around ten million passengers every month.