A solar-powered bus shelter. The trial project, which began in February, will run until the end of the year. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: A pilot project is currently under way at two bus stops in Dubai, where the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is taping solar energy to power the air conditioners and lighting, Gulf News can confirm.

The trial began in February this year at two bus stops near Al Jafliya Metro station, as part of its efforts to explore alternative sources of energy to power more than 100 bus shelters that have no electricity.

The project, if successful, will also help RTA to go ahead with its proposed expansion of AC bus shelter projects at more than 1,500 of its bus stops across the city.

“We are looking at various options to power our bus shelters and solar energy is one of the options as it is readily available. We are currently doing trials at two bus stops in Al Jafliya and studying its performance,” said Dr Yousuf Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

He added that RTA is doing feasibility and utility studies on the project and trying to clear all the obstacles before going ahead with the project in other bus shelters.

“The trial will run until the end of this year and we will study every aspect of the operating solar-powered bus shelters, including the cost of operations, its environmental benefits as well as maintenance issues,” he added.

He agreed that a successful trial of the project will solve the power connectivity problem of more than 100 bus shelters, while also having a positive impact on the environment.

Last year, more than 150 bus shelters across the city either had no power connection to operate ACs or had non-working ACs, forcing commuters to face the extreme heat inside the aluminium-built stops.

Currently, there are a total of 898 AC bus shelters, out of which 130 still don’t have power supply.

Commuters have regularly complained, especially during summer, that sitting inside the aluminium-built shelters without AC is unbearable.

RTA launched AC bus shelters in 2008 and since then only a third of bus stops in Dubai have been equipped with AC. However, power supply issues to some of these shelters seem to have stalled the project.