Broken air conditioning at bus stops leave Abu Dhabi commuters wilting in 'greenhouses'

Passengers say temperatures inside shelters are often hotter than outside

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., July 11, 2018.  Stock photos of transportation - public buses, bus waiting sheds, taxis, passengers, bus ticket machines, mawaqif.  Commuters wait for the bus at the Saif Ghubash Street bus stop.
Victor Besa / The National
Section: NA
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Commuters in Abu Dhabi claim they are being forced to stand in sweltering heat due to defective air conditioning units at bus stop shelters.

Passengers say temperatures inside booths can often be hotter than on the street, leaving them with little choice but to seek out shade nearby.

A post about broken AC systems on the Abu Dhabi Q&A's Facebook page attracted a string of complaints from commuters on Wednesday.


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Abu Dhabi bus shelters get their ACs fixed following complaints


Some described the bus stops as being like a "greenhouses" while others said the heat often became so intolerable that they opted to take taxis instead.

Elina, from Finland, said: “Sometimes there are trees around that provide shade, but quite often there is nothing.

"You have to stand around in the sun – and if the heat gets too much and the wait too long I try to get a taxi as it can become unbearable."

Nowshin Khaleque, 28, from Bangladesh, who uses buses in Abu Dhabi regularly, added: “Most of the shelters I use are supposed to have AC, but if they don't work you don't feel like entering."

The Department of Transport is advertising for companies to apply to build and maintain air conditioned bus shelters around the city.

The exact numbers of AC units out of action is unclear, but many commuters still feel urgent action is required.

Commenting on the Q&A Facebook page, one bus passenger anonymously said commuters on the Muroor Road near the First Abu Dhabi Bank often preferred to stand in the shade rather than “bake" in a shelter.

Not all commuters are unhappy, however.

Omar Awad, 18, an American, said he uses buses regularly and had never encountered a broken unit.

“It is very cool inside the shelters and it gives you a good rest from the heat,” he said.

The Department of Transport has been contacted for comment.