The pace of installing air-conditioners (ACs) in buses that ferry workers has picked up significantly over the past month, say sources.
Owners and operators of many buses, especially older ones, are getting their non-AC fleets converted to AC ones as the technical inspection authorities are reportedly being very strict about buses being equipped with air-conditioners in line with a government directive issued last year.
The authorities had directed that buses and vans, including those used to transport construction and other workers in the country, must be air-conditioned. The move was welcomed by labourers who have for long sought comfortable transportation.
However, the process remained slow as many companies cited difficulties in installing ACs in all their buses at one go, according to sources.
In a report published in Gulf Times late in April this year, officials of some construction firms were quoted as saying that they were “making all out efforts” to equip their buses and vans with ACs in batches.
Now, three months later, the situation has changed as many bus operators have expedited the process of installing ACs in order to avoid getting penalised for failing to comply with the government directive.
“It’s a costly process, but we have to do it without further delay,” said a transporter. It may cost up to QR45,000-50,000 to install an air-conditioning system in a large bus with 48 or more seats.
Some of the bigger construction and contracting firms have their own buses, while a large number of companies use the services of transport contractors to ferry workers.
Sources in the vehicle air-conditioning business confirmed that a considerable number of non-AC buses are being converted and work is on in full swing at workshops, many of which have several orders to complete.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Nissam Mohamed Ali of Seashore Engineering said their company had completed the air-conditioning of about 90 buses.
Ali said the firm has used a widely accepted international technology that is also suitable for vehicles operating in the Gulf region.
The company had brought in many skilled professionals from outside to train its technicians in bus air-conditioning works. It had also used the services of personnel from the Chinese automotive industry, who are familiar with vehicular operations in the region.
It is understood that most of those who have installed new air-conditioning systems in their buses are happy with their performance this summer.
An official of a construction company that has a fleet of more than 60 buses said almost 80% of their buses have been fitted with ACs and the remaining vehicles are being converted gradually.
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