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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 18/07/2009

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Mowasalat, in collaboration with a private media company, is establishing the first air-conditioned bus shelter in the country in Lusail. The facility will function on a trial basis, a senior Mowasalat official said.

The state-owned company is awaiting approval from higher authorities for establishing more such facilities across the country, Ahmed Al Ansari, Mowasalat's business development director, told

The Peninsula.

The shelter has been built on the Lusail highway, near the offices of Qatari Diar. It was designed by the same company that was assigned to install the scores of bus shelters currently in use in various parts of the country. The company is responsible for establishment and maintenance of the facility, said Al Ansari.

"It has a new design that is different from the other bus shelters in the country, with special features to operate with an air-conditioner. The design is very practical and we would go for more such facilities once the project gets final approval from the higher authorities,"

he added.

He said air-conditioned shelters would be established in select areas across the city where they can be properly maintained.

Asked if there was a drop in the number of passengers in Karwa's buses and taxis with the onset of summer, Ansari said, "During summer, many people leave the country on vacation and this naturally reduces the passenger turnout. However, more people without cars have been forced to rely on public transport during summer and this keeps our services busy."

"A good number of our taxis and buses are now off the roads for the necessary maintenance works. We complete most such works during summer," he added.

He said Mowasalat would soon announce the second taxi operator in the country. The company recently invited bids from companies interested in operating the service.

One firm has been selected from four public share-holding companies that responded to the invitation for bidding. The companies are Doha Insurance, Al Khaleej Insurance, First Finance and National Leasing Company.

Mowasalat will continue to operate its fleet of Karwa buses and taxis while allowing the second operator to run the taxis. The new company will operate 500 taxis initially.

By Mohammed Iqbal


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