Mohammad Al Ali, director RTA showing the new smart bus shelter which will have wifi, smart pay services, mobile phone charging with food and drinks on the opening day of Gitex Technology week 2015 at Dubai World Trade Centre on Sunday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Waiting at Dubai’s bus stops will soon get less boring as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) plans to install free Wi-Fi at 100 bus stops.

By the end of December, when at least 50 of these Smart Bus Shelters will be ready, commuters will be able to sip their coffee or tea from the small cafes that will be available inside the bus stops, while browsing the internet or paying bills through the smart kiosk.

Fifty more will be ready by the end of January.

From the existing 656 air-conditioned bus stops located across the city, 100 will be selected from some of the busiest locations in Dubai.

“We will be modifying the existing AC bus stops to accommodate the new features. Some of the busiest stops at key locations like Shaikh Zayed Road, Deira, Bur Dubai, Jumeirah, etc, have been identified,” said Mohammad Al Ali, Director of Buses at RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

A smart bus shelter was on display at Gitex 2015, equipped with mobile charging ports, Wi-Fi supported by du and a tiny cafe that serves tea, coffee and snacks.

“We are in talks with some of the popular cafes and tea joints in the city to have their stalls inside the bus stops. It will be great to have them as that will give commuters a chance to grab snacks on the go,” added Al Ali.

Another interesting feature of the smart shelter is the interactive kiosk that can get virtually all jobs done, from paying utility bills, topping up mobile balance, paying credit card bills, remitting cash home, topping up international mobile balance for visitors as well as booking air tickets.

Commuters can purchase new Nol cards through the kiosk, while also topping up their Nol balance.

“This is part of RTA’s effort to enhance the customer experience and make people happy while they use public transport. This goes in conjunction with the initiative of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world,” he said.

Interestingly, the free Wi-Fi will be available only for a limited period to ensure there is no misuse of the facility.

“We have not decided the time limit, but it will decided taking into consideration the average waiting time at a particular bus stop,” Al Ali said.

Commuters will be able to avail of the Wi-Fi service by entering their mobile number and email id on the Wi-Fi UAE website, which will lead them to a link to connect to the Wi-Fi.”

RTA is undertaking this project in partnership with Right Angle Media.