Dubai Commuters are braving the sweltering heat with air conditioning at many bus shelters across Dubai letting them down.
Residents' calls for authorities to take urgent action to fix the faulty air conditioners, however, has evoked a heated response from the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) which has blamed users who leave the doors of bus shelters open.
"The bus shelters are supposed to offer refuge especially during the hot summer. But it is of little use if the ACs are not working," said Lili Beth, a commuter.
Waiting under the shade of a building right behind a bus shelter on Al Diyafah street, Beth said that those who take the bus to work every day like her have no escape. "It is getting hotter by the day, there is even a risk of heat stroke," she said.
Another regular commuter, Edward Sibug, nodded agreement. The air conditioning at the bus shelter he had been waiting at, around 1.30 in the afternoon, had not been working for months, he said.
"People refrain from waiting inside the shelter as it gets unbearably hot within the shelter," said Sibug who uses buses and the Metro every day to go to work and get back.
The malfunctioning ACs are a blow to the government's efforts to popularise the use of public transport, others pointed out.
"The AC problem needs to be fixed immediately to encourage more people to use the buses. It will reduce a lot of inconvenience for the public," said Mo Badri.
Mohammad Javed said faulty ACs at bus shelters have become all too common and made particular mention of one near Shindagha tunnel in Deira and another one in Bur Dubai.
The RTA has completed construction of 900 air-conditioned bus shelters spanning all bus stops in Dubai and 770 of them are now fully operational, Mohammad Al Ali, director of buildings and facilities at RTA's Corporate Technical Support Services Sector, said in a statement issued on Monday.
"With onset of summer, several complaints are being made about the performance of air conditioning systems fitted to these shelters, citing that they are not functioning properly. However, we confirm that these air-conditioners are highly efficient and the reason for any poor performance is attributed to the fact that some users leave the doors of these shelters open for a long period; which causes the ACs to switch off as the indoor environment of the shelter is adversely affected by the external weather where temperature is currently on the rise, particularly at noon," said Al Ali.
He added that work is ongoing to make more bus shelters operational in order to improve levels of services delivered to bus commuters and boost the integration of various mass transit modes in Dubai Emirate.
Al Ali called on the public using air-conditioned bus shelters to comply with the usage guidelines on display inside these shelters.
"If implemented, the guidelines can ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of these shelters as a vital and crucial component of mass transit systems in the emirate."
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