By Dylan Bowman
Dubai will replace 471 bus stops with high-tech air-conditioned facilities by October next year.
Hot and sweaty commuters breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday as Dubai’s transport authority said it has finally begun installing air-conditioned bus stops across the city.
Under the scheme, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will replace 471 bus stops with high-tech air-conditioned facilities by October next year, followed by another rollout inside the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza).
The move could not come sooner for the thousands of mainly low-paid foreign workers who are forced to wait for buses in the sweltering heat every day.
The RTA hopes the improved facilities - which will include ATMs, vending machines and garbage recycling containers - will encourage other commuters to use public transport rather than drive their cars to work.
“This project is part of the strategic initiatives of the RTA to provide better services and amenities for commuters, especially in the high temperatures of summer,” Mohamed Obeid Al Mulla, CEO of the Public Transport Agency of the RTA, said in a statement.
“These stations had been equipped with the best techniques air conditioning that would encourage the public from different social cross-sections and reduce jams caused by the large numbers of private cars, as well as reduce the rate of environmental pollution, which positively affect the public health of the community and contribute to raising its productivity and giving,” he added.
One of the problems encouraging more affluent residents to use public transport is that it usually means walking to and then waiting in the hot and humid conditions for buses that are frequently delayed due to Dubai’s worsening traffic congestion.