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08 June 2023

100 AC bus shelters not working in Dubai

By Sneha Francis and Majorie van Leijen

The summer is well and truly here with temperatures flirting with the 50DegC mark.

However, users of public transport have found that not all the AC bus shelters in the emirate are functioning, and at some locations there is no AC shelter at all.

Dubai sees thousands of people riding the bus every day.

In 2011, a total of 107.407 million took the bus; which means an average of 298,000 a day.

Currently there are 900 bus shelters in the emirate, with 71 yet to be built.

Of the 900 shelters, 800 are working with a running AC, according to the Road and Transport Authority (RTA).

"The AC bus shelter is one of the pioneer projects adopted by the RTA to encourage residents and tourists of Dubai to use the outstanding integrated public transport services," says Mohammad Abdullah AL Ali, Director Planning and Business Development of the Road and Transport Authority (RTA).

The RTA says there are currently 100 shelters with malfunctioning ACs.

"Most of the time, the doors of the AC bus shelters are left open, resulting in the compressor failing. The heat results in a short-circuit," explains Mohammad.

The AC in the bus stop next to Safa Park has remained non-functioning for a while now. The commuters have no other option but to stand out in the scorching heat.

"This is my first time to this side of town, and I thought I'll wait inside the bus stop. But the air conditioning doesn't work. It's hot and stuffy inside and outside," reported a visibly sweated man. 

"It's been a while since the air-conditioning stopped working," added another traveler, Mahendra. " It's peak summer and leaving us to roast inside the bus shelter isn't fair."

 According to Mohammad, the problem can be solved with the help of the public.

"If anyone does report a faulty air-conditioned bus shelter, where the doors do not close properly or the conditioner does not work, he may call 8009090- the RTA Helpline- and report it to Madinati. The RTA will immediately deal with the bus-shelter."

However, there are also bus shelters that have been relocated; hence the RTA is working to regenerate power at these locations.

The focus of the projects lies on business districts, main roads and prime locations, commuters to certain residential areas feel left out.

For the Filipina Mary Mingoy it is not a matter of choice.

From where she lives – Motor City - the bus is the only alternative when it comes to public transportation.

Her way back home starts in front of the Mall of the Emirates. At both locations, there is no bus shelter.

"At both places there is no other option but to wait in the simmering heat. The nearest place in the shade is quite far, and you don’t want to miss that bus!"

"The criteria of selecting locations are based on ridership/demand data and prime/attractive locations," explains Mohammad.

"The RTA has studied all utility requirements and liaised with service providers to make sure those locations are accepted and to assure readiness of smooth implementation.

“The study took into account traffic safety requirements, current utilities, and availability of right of way and passenger requests."

For the remaining 71 shelters to come, RTA says it is currently studying the need and demand throughout the emirate, for which it looks at Central Business District routes, new developments, main roads and a few residential areas.