By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
As the weather gets hotter in the country, some transport contractors are busy installing air-conditioners (ACs) in buses that are used to ferry workers, it is learnt.
This is in line with a government directive issued last year, stipulating that buses and vans, including those used to transport construction and other workers, must be air-conditioned.
The move was welcomed by large groups of labourers who had, for long, requested for comfortable transportation to and from work.
The order was to come into effect from July 1, 2015, weeks after the announcement was made around mid-June. However, its implementation was delayed and companies reportedly got extensions after they cited financial and other difficulties in installing ACs in all their buses at one go, according to sources.
Now, officials of construction firms say they are "making all efforts" to equip their buses and vans with ACs in batches as the new deadline ends on July 1.
While some of the bigger construction and contracting firms have their own buses, a large number of companies use the services of transport contractors to ferry their workers, the sources point out.
When contacted on Wednesday, a transport company official told Gulf Times that their buses were currently being fitted with ACs and the process would continue in the coming weeks even though it was an expensive affair.
While sources say the rate at which buses are being fitted with ACs is a "little slow at this juncture", officials of transport companies believe the pace will increase by the middle of next month if the current deadline is not extended.
Representatives of companies with large fleets, however, feel they should get further extensions as they have more vehicles to make modifications to and it also involves huge spending.
The cost of equipping buses with standard AC equipment starts from QR10,000, according to transport company officials.
"While it remains to be seen if all buses will be equipped with ACs by the deadline, it is certain that many of them will have cooling systems before the deadline ends, providing relief to a large number of workers," said a source familiar with the developments.
Besides workshops belonging to authorised bus distributors, some local agencies also have the required facilities for installing ACs in buses, it is found.
Meanwhile, some transport contractors reportedly equip their buses with ACs only when they are required to undergo the annual technical inspection, irrespective of the season and weather conditions, the sources add.
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