If you are still among the unlucky ones departing from a bus station that comprises nothing more than the information board on the side of the road, chances are that change is coming your way.
The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) will soon develop 400 locations in its second phase of the AC bus shelter project.
Currently, there are 656 bus shelters around Dubai, aimed at sheltering travellers waiting for bus.
Be it rain during the winter months, or extreme heat during summer, sheltered bus stops do not seem a luxury in Dubai. However, a considerable number of locations lack the facility of a sheltered bus stop, and passengers have no choice but to wait in the open air.
According to the RTA, all bus stops in Dubai will eventually be provided with the facility of an air-conditioned bus shelter, an ambition requiring 1,200 additional bus shelters at this point.
Although this ambition has been expressed several times, little evidence can be seen of the plan coming to action. However, the first 400 bus shelters should materialise soon, if we go by the statements that have been made regarding the project.
“We will build 1,200 new bus shelters, and this will be done in three phases. Currently, we are looking at the installment of the first 400 bus shelters,” said Mohammed Al Ali, Director of Bus, RTA.
The RTA explained in a statement: “In line with RTA strategic goals and objectives ‘from cars to public transport’ and to increase ridership the RTA is planning to launch the 2nd phase of AC bus shelters project, which will include the development of about 400 locations around Dubai (followed by two more phases of 400 locations each).
“The project will be carried out in partnership with the private sector based on the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) mechanism. This means we will invite eligible investors for bidding.”
The selection of the 400 locations is based on specific criteria, such as the operational demand in terms of number of riders and number of served routes and transfers, as well as investment opportunity in terms of the location of the shelter in relation to investment zones in Dubai, explained Al Ali.
However, the 400 locations can be found all over Dubai, as the entire emirate will eventually be covered by the project, the RTA states.
Air-conditioned bus shelters have been a much-demanded facility by the public, not only there were the shelters are lacking. In many cases, the air-conditioning in the bus shelter is not working.
“I travel by bus daily through Port Rashid and Karama. In both areas the air-conditioner is not working,” said Neesha Kapoor, an Indian resident of Dubai.
Elizabeth Taylor, a British resident who gets on the bus on Jumeirah Beach Road reports a similar situation. “The AC is not working, and in summer this means that the shelter is more suffocating than the heat outside.”
Earlier, Al Ali explained that the problem lied in faulty electrical lines. (http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/100-a-c-bus-stands-not-working-dubai-s-rta-promises-action-2013-09-24-1.522101)
"Yes, these shelters are not powered due to the electrical connection issues. We are coordinating with the investor company to resolve this issue and find a solution. We are working closely with the investor to study different alternatives to provide the electrical supply,” he said.
The bus shelters in the making should come with all necessary amenities, concludes the RTA statement. The shelters will be 6 meters long and 2 meters wide, accommodating 10 seated and 5 standing persons.
Further, all shelters are accessible for disabled passengers. They will be provided with Real Time Passengers Information (RTPI), ATM vending machines and other amenities. Meanwhile, the investor will benefit from the advertisement space on the shelters façades and outdoor mopies in compliance with Dubai advertising guidelines, said the RTA.