Muscat: Three air-conditioned bus stops catering to Mwasalat passengers will be ready before the end of winter, a senior official of Mwasalat has said.
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Confirming this, Ahmed bin Ali Al Balushi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Mwasalat, said: “We are planning to open three air-conditioned bus shelters in Oman, of which two will be in Al Khuwair.”
Mwasalat, the rebranded version of the Oman National Transport Company, transported nearly 3.6mn passengers ever since it began its operations under its new identity on November 22, 2015.
“These three bus stations will be prototypes and we need to see how it works as these are being tried for the first time in Oman. We don’t want it to become a resting area for people, so right now we can’t say that these air-conditioned bus stations will come up all over Oman,” Al Balushi told the Times of Oman on Wednesday.
Passengers using the Mwasalat buses are, however, very happy with the decision. “During summer, the temperature crosses 45 degrees in Oman. So it would be nice to wait for the air-conditioned buses at air conditioned shelters,” commented an Indian expatriate, Satish Saha, who commutes daily from Ruwi to Seeb.
Passengers also said that right now, there was no respite for hapless waiting passengers from the intolerable heat and humidity in summer.
“During peak summer, standing in the sun even for a minute can be unbearable. So, right now, in the absence of air-conditioned bus shelters, passengers are left without any choice but to look for shaded areas such as trees or nearby buildings where there is no shaded bus stop,” they said.
Mwasalat plans to introduce 118 new public transport buses in 2017. “We have a come a long way since we started our operations. Now, the people of Oman know that they will be able to board a bus if they wait for 15 minutes, right from 6:00 in the morning to 9:30 at night. And therein lies our success. A lot of things still need to be done to improve public transportation system as we want to link all the cities in Oman,” the CEO had said earlier.