Affordable accommodation is not the only thing low-income ‘bachelors’ are worried about these days. Finding a place with proper access to public transport is an equally big challenge for many of them.
The situation is particularly distressing for those living in city areas where demolitions are expected in the coming months.
The absence of direct bus services on many routes, it seems, has hit some of these people hard as they cannot afford to travel in taxis frequently.
For instance, a resident of a bustling city locality said he wanted to shift to a new neighbourhood but transportation could be an issue there due to “inadequate” bus services there. “I don’t know how long I can stay here. However, before shifting, I need to sort out the transportation issue,” he added.
A salon worker said he and his friends used to walk 4-5km after their work late in the evening as there were no bus services to their accommodation from Najma after 10pm. Now, they have managed to find an accommodation in that area but at a much higher rent. “People like us cannot afford to board taxis always,” he said.
Many of these low-income residents are willing to relocate from their present accommodation in the middle of Doha but are unable to do so because of the steep rise in rents in the country, including in places beyond city limits.
Quite a few of them, it is understood, are given only a token amount as rent allowance by their employers and are not in a position to spend on housing. “Even if we go outside city limits, we are unable to find accommodation within our modest budget,” said a resident employed with a laundry in Umm Ghuwailina.
The worker said as most of their shop’s customers are from the same neighbourhood, it is not advisable for them to move farther from their present accommodation either. “If we move to far-off locations, poor public transport connectivity will hit us hard,” he added.
Several other expatriates, including those living in areas such as Asmakh and Old Al Ghanim, are facing a similar predicament as they expect evacuations to be carried out in those places.
Meanwhile, many shopkeepers also seem aware that they may not be able to relocate in the event of an evacuation in their areas as the prevailing rents are beyond their capacity. Besides, the formalities that one has to complete before moving to an alternative location are too “time-consuming”, it is understood.
While no one feels that the city doesn’t have enough retail spaces, affordability and public transport connectivity are major worries. “How can we rent out shops in localities that are not only expensive but have poorer public transport access,” said a shopkeeper in Umm Ghuwailina.
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