Gimme shelter

A great story out of Dubai, where the transport authorities – to their credit – are trying to get people out of their cars and onto public transport.

As well as the new metro – which opens on 9th September (9/9/09 – don’t ask me what the significance is, other than a good headline) – there are several new bus routes coming in. But standing around by the side of the road in 50-degree heat isn’t very pleasant, so Dubai has air-conditioned its bus shelters.

(It’s so Dubai. But don’t get it mixed up with Dubai’s air-conditioned beach, which has now been abandoned, thank heavens…)

Good news is no news, so I missed it when the a/c shelters were put in.

But bad news sells – so it makes the National when the a/c shelters break down.

However, as the manufacturers pointed out, they only fail when it gets really hot outside… So, um, that’s OK then… The Kipp Report had it best: “The air-conditioners ‘trip at intervals’. Which intervals? Like, noon?”

Beyond Dubai, think of the applications: heated bus shelters in Britain, bear-proof bus shelters in Canada, bullet-proof bus shelters in New Orleans, life-support bus shelters in the Aussie outback…

Come on, give me some more ideas. Let’s get the world waiting for a bus in comfort…


  1. David Whitley

    Well, there aren’t any bus shelters in the Aussie outback – they just use roadhouses (and they’re horrible: see #

    A lot of these places (and country pubs) do have emergency medical kits supplied by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, however.

    What would really make bus shelters better is better information – not just timetables, but how far the next bus is away. There should also be ticket machines at each one to speed boarding.

    Some cities have both, and they’re great.

  2. Matthew Teller

    Yes, I figured there weren’t many bus shelters in the outback – I was just envisaging a little cool, Dubai-style air-conditioned bothy, complete with Z-bed, stove, teabags and wifi… Never mind; flight of fancy…

    FWIW Swiss tram stops have electronic countdown indicators showing arrival times of the next few trams. They don’t really need them, though, since trams, trains and buses all stick to their timetables with to-the-minute accuracy. That’s why they don’t bother with electronic indicators at bus stops: if the paper timetable says 13.01, that’s when the bus will be there.

    The Swiss know it, too. That stop will be deserted at 12.55: everyone only bothers to turn up in the two minutes before the scheduled time because they know the bus will be neither early nor late… It brings a whole new meaning and definition (and connotation) to the term ‘public transport’…

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