Abu Dhabi Beats the Heat With Air Conditioned Shipping Container Bus Shelters
In the fierce heat of the Gulf micro-state of Abu Dhabi standing outside for too long is ill-advised. Temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees C plus so you can sweat buckets as you wait for your bus.
The Arab state authorities have long been installing air conditioned bus shelters around the country for the 52 million rides taken on a bus every year. In an attempt to encourage more people onto buses and out of their cars, the city Department of Transport is testing new sites for bus shelters with specially converted shipping containers.
Waiting for a bus in a glass oven?
Lately local media reports that a large number of the older bus shelters’ air con has been breaking down rather a lot, and with the body heat of others the heat can get quite ferocious without the cooling.
This hasn’t been good for business for the bus service! In part because of this the authorities have enacted a nationwide bus shelter refurbishment and improvement programme.
Across three cities, Gulf News states, “The Department recorded a total of 52 million passenger trips by bus last year. Commuters used 650 buses serving more than 95 service routes in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra.”
There are many popular and well-used shelters but thanks to the cost of running them the authorities don’t simply build them speculatively and leave them running all the time, empty or not.
Gulf News reported in its coverage of plans to update the bus network, some “shelters are six metres long, and can accommodate 12 people who are standing, based on international standards that allocate about five square metres of space per person. Other shelters that are nine metres long can accommodate 22 people, and about 30 people can fit into the shelters that are 12 metres in length.”
This is where the shipping container bus shelters come in. In its attempt to tackle the legendary congestion of the cities in Abu Dhabi, the government is trying to encourage more people onto the bus and out of their cars.
According to The National, “Some of the shipping container shelters will be temporary but others are permanent and more could be installed if feedback from the public is positive.”
If someone is presented with a reliably cool escape from the desert sun while travelling on a good public transport system they may be less likely to use their car.
Here’s another advantage to setting up the speculative shelters, according to The National: “The containers can be installed swiftly and are about 40 per cent cheaper than building regular units.”
So in converting a shipping container to include air con, machines to charge their public transport cards, as well as the bus information system, the authorities can still save around 40% of the cost of building one from the ground up. They can also install the unit extremely quickly according to customer demand.
This means that the Abu Dhabi Department for Transport can effectively experiment with regards to bus use uptake in a given location, without the same expenditure of building one from scratch.
One can also see that the converted shipping container bus shelters can be removed and relocated according to differing needs.
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