(MENAFN - The Peninsula)
By Sanaullah Ataullah
DOHA: Yet another fuel station in downtown Doha is likely to close shortly, adding to the crowding at neighbouring facilities.
Licence of Al Khalij Al Arabi (Arabian Gulf) petrol station near Al Mannai roundabout, opposite Al Rumaila Hospital in Bin Mahmoud is going to expire by end of this month and has not been renewed so far, it has been learnt.
“Discussions between the owner and authorities are on but nothing has been decided yet,” an employee at the petrol station told this daily. No official confirmation was available yesterday.
This is one of most crowded petrol stations in the area, in the absence of other facilities in the vicinity. With limited space inside, in the peak hours vehicles occupy a lane of the road almost completely. As a result, motorists coming from Hamad General Hospital intersection to Meshairib or from Bin Mahmoud face huge traffic jams.
Al Khalij could be the latest of a number of fuel stations inside the city that were closed down recently either for renovation or to give way to some other projects.
The Doha Petrol station in Doha Jadeed, one of the oldest fuel stations in the heart of the city was closed down two months ago. Shopkeepers still functioning at the premises said they were not sure whether the facility was closed temporarily or on a permanent basis.
The Falcon petrol station near Mall intersection on D-Ring Road was also closed a few months ago. Woqod has built several new petrol stations across the country and many others are under construction. However, with a rapid rise in the number of vehicles every year, the existing facilities are struggling to cope with the rush.
After closure of the Doha Petrol Station, the burden shifted to the neighbouring Woqod petrol station adjacent to Jaida Tower at Al Asmakh street causing heavy traffic snarls.
“Usually, I avoid filling petrol during peak hours. But on Thursday, I was stuck at noon for 20 minutes at the Woqod station near Jaida Tower,” said an expatriate living near Dar Al Khutub roundabout, whom The Peninsula met at the same petrol station in a queue.
New Woqod petrol station near Bank Street soon
A new Woqod petrol station close to the Bank Street, opposite the New World Center (now closed) is under construction and is expected to open soon.
Most petrol stations on the outskirts of the city also witness crowding, especially in the peak hours.
The situation in the Industrial Area is worse compared to other parts of the city. There are only three petrol stations in this crowded industrial district — Al Watan at Street No 33, Al Salam at Street No. 2 and one Woqod petrol station opposite Street No. 10 adjacent to the Islamic Centre. A petrol station at Street No. 10 has been closed for renovation.
“Whenever I went to refuel my car at any petrol station in the Industrial Area, it would not take less than 30 minutes. A lot of construction work is going on around two petrol stations at Street No. 2 and Street No. 33,” the motorist said.
To address the increasing demand for fuel stations across the country, Woqod had announced plans to set up 25 mobile fuel stations and installed some in the most needed areas. Woqod also plans to open about 20 additional fuel stations in strategic areas across the country.