x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

'Finishing line' near for Dubai's air-conditioned bus shelters

Operators of the city's air-conditioned bus shelters say nearly 90 per cent of them are now working, with the remainder to be completed by the end of January.

An air-conditioned bus shelter near Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai.
An air-conditioned bus shelter near Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai.

DUBAI // Operators of the city's air-conditioned bus shelters say nearly 90 per cent of them are now working, with the remainder to be completed by the end of January. They added that the shelters' air-conditioning system had been improved following complaints from passengers during the summer. With most of the Red Line's Metro stations finished, building teams are now able to complete the bus shelters next to them.

"While the Metro was being finished, there was a lot of work going on around them. Where there was previously a lot of hoardings up, it's being cleared up and enables us to finish off the contract. We can see the finishing line," said Patrick Chaundy, the chief executive of Right Angle Media, which has a contract with the Roads and Transport Authority to design, build, and operate the shelters. Currently, there are 889 bus shelters at 624 locations throughout Dubai and Right Angle hopes to complete the contractual 971 by the end of January.

Mr Chaundy said the number of reports that the shelters' air-conditioning units were breaking down had fallen after the RTA conducted an educational campaign to stop users keeping the doors open. "People would sit there with their foot wedged against the door or in a lot of cases a plastic bottle and wedging them. It is somewhat akin to having a car and putting it in neutral and putting your foot on the accelerator," said Mr Chaundy.

He said sometimes people would phone in to report a broken-down shelter without being able to give its exact location. "We have added an identification number so any member of the public can quote that number to get people in to fix it." Extra bus routes were added at the start of the month, serving several parts of the city. Route 22 will run from Deira Bus Station to Al Nahdah 1, Route 47 will go from Rashidiya Bus Station to Jumeirah Beach Park and Route 53 will run from Gold Souq Station to International City. Route 88 will start at Deira City Centre Bus Station and bring commuters to Dubai Media City.

Routes 99 and 8A have both been extended to Ibn Battuta Station, and Route 93 has been extended to Mall of the Emirates Station. eharnan@thenational.ae