By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
Waiting for public transport buses in these sweltering conditions can be a rather uncomfortable experience, and what adds to passengers’ woes is the dearth of proper shelters in the city and beyond.
It has been almost eight years since Mowasalat launched its bus services in October 2005. However, as not too many shelters have been installed at bus stops across the country, commuters are forced to wait under the scorching sun without any protection. Such a sight is also common at the main bus station in Doha, it is understood.
It is generally felt among passengers that the situation is not much better even at bus stops where shelters have been built as these do not provide adequate protection during the summer. There are a few places where bus shelters have been set up for the benefit of travellers, like the one near the Ministry of Economy and Finance along the Corniche.
The bus stop in front of City Center Doha, which sees a large number of passengers, does not have any shelter. “There should be a proper shelter there as it’s a busy bus stop,” said a commuter. There have also been requests for covered shelters on the Al Wakrah route.
The problem, say sources, has been aggravated by the rise in population and number of bus passengers. While commuters in Doha can seek shelter in neighbouring shops and buildings, those waiting for buses in some of the remote locations cannot even do so as there are hardly any buildings around, they add.
While there is no doubt that there has been a huge rise in the number of buses over the years and more services are in the offing, a similar increase in the number of bus shelters is yet to happen. Moreover, it is understood that the ongoing beautification projects are hindering the development plans of the transport company, its officials explained at a recent meeting.
The transport firm needs to get clearance from several departments and ministries before embarking upon its programmes. Hence, there is a delay in executing projects, including the construction of shades and shelters for bus passengers.
Asked about the transport company’s plans to set up more bus shelters recently, a senior official had said they would do so in the coming months based on the actual requirements of passengers. However, he did not provide any timeframe for the execution of such plans.