The Department of Transport has launched the first air-conditioned bus shelter in Abu Dhabi.
Coolest bus shelters in the capital
ABU DHABI // The city's first air-conditioned bus shelter was unveiled today on Fourth Street, one of 20 planned to be running by Saturday. The first shelters, which have automatic doors and maintain a constant temperature of 22C, are located in and around Airport Road, Fourth and Al Falah Street, as well as outside Zayed Sports City. They are the first of 80 planned to be in place by September, with a total of 550 supposed to be up and running by the first quarter of 2011, said Saeed al Hameli, general manager of bus transportation for the Department of Transport. Some of the shelters will be connected to generators at first, as the department works with the utility companies to get them hooked up directly to a power source. "From today on, as you drive around Abu Dhabi you will see work being carried out on the shelters," said Mr al Hameli. They will have eight seats, plus a spot for a wheelchair, with additional space for eight people standing. They will also have printed route maps, and a thick aluminium roof and heat-shielding glazing to keep the temperature down. In future, ticket machines will be installed, along with monitors to provide real-time information to passengers on schedules, maps, estimated journey time and cost. When all of these features are added, the shelters will consume 14 kilowatts of energy per hour. However, they will be on timers and turned off at certain hours. People near the Fourth Street shelter today said they were happy to see its arrival. "It's like a European country," said Mehtab Akin. Mr Akin, an assistant manager at a property company, said he had been using the buses regularly since they were launched a year ago on Tuesday. "It is very hot now - you see my shirt it is wet," he said. "So if I want to wait for the bus, I can go in there." Mr al Hameli said 60 buses from the German-based company MAN should take to the roads on July 20 and would be added to three routes running through the central business district. The extra vehicles would be used to make existing services more frequent, he said. The department wants to have 500 city buses and coaches in service by the end of 2009, with 1,360 vehicles running on 60 planned routes by early 2011. Up to 65,000 people use the buses daily, according to the department, which said it is selling an average of 12,000 Dh40 monthly bus passes. firstname.lastname@example.org