Passengers reiterate demand for fully-covered bus shelters.
A bus stop on the Salwa Road near the Jaidah flyover, where passengers are seen standing behind the shelter to protect themselves from the sun. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
By Ramesh Mathew
The country's bus services will complete a decade in a little more than a year from now. However, the wait for fully-covered bus shelters continues even today in most parts of Doha and its neighbourhood.
The public bus services, launched in October 2005, have grown significantly over the years. This has been accompanied by a jump in the number of passengers as well. Yet, a basic facility like covered shelters is yet to be provided in most places, forcing passengers to wait under scorching conditions, say residents.
Only a small fraction of bus stops has covers to protect passengers from the heat. This has prompted many commuters to reiterate the demand for covered bus shelters.
"If there is a proper transparent cover on all four sides, we can sit and wait inside the shelter even if there is no air-conditioner," said a newly-arrived expatriate who relies on buses for his commute.
"There is a crying need for more covered bus shelters. Ideally, they should be air-conditioned but even if they are not, they should at least be fully covered," said another resident.
While some stops have a roof, there are several others without any such protection. Often passengers stand under shaded areas adjacent to bus stops in commercial neighbourhoods.
It has been found that bus stops have been done away with after the widening of the Corniche road. Passengers are now seen waiting on green spaces along the road and even on pavements.
In front of City Center Doha, where a large number of passengers could often be seen, there is no shelter to protect them from the sun even though the place is served by a number of circular buses besides the usual public transport services.
When the matter was raised with Mowasalat officials, it was explained that more covered bus shelters were in the company's plans, though no one could confirm when these would be provided in adequate numbers.
Mowasalat has been repeatedly highlighting the need to support and strengthen public transport services in view of the congestion on the country's roads, especially in the peak hours. However, as pointed out by many, a lot more still needs to be done at different levels to improve the situation.
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