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Posted On: 23 March 2015 05:48 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:15 pm

Doha's Central Bus Station needs better safety features

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The two accidents, both caused by buses ramming into waiting passengers, within four months at Doha’s Central Bus Station, ought to be considered as wake up calls by the authorities concerned.

If four expatriates were killed and two injured in the first accident on December 12, 2014, fortunately the second one last Friday caused only injuries.

In both accidents, drivers lost control over the buses, which were being brought to a halt so that waiting passengers could get on board. It is not clear if the accidents happened on account of human error or any mechanical failure of the buses. The investigation report of the first accident is yet to be made public.

Coincidentally, both the accidents occurred on Fridays, when the Central Bus Station is most crowded with low-income expatriates – the key beneficiaries of Mowasalat’s public transport service to date – arriving and departing to and from all corners of Qatar, in a bid to make the best out of their only off day of the week.

A number of factors have to be set right at the Central Bus Station which lacks many amenities such a facility ought to have, especially when it is the hub of the public transport system in a fast developing country like Qatar, which has got a very clear and ambitious vision about the future.

Presently, waiting passengers crowd all around the Central Bus Station, with many even sitting on the concrete barriers intended as a safety measure if any bus is to lose control.

After last Friday’s accident, Mowasalat employees could be seen urging passengers to move away from the barriers. It may be recalled that more concrete barriers were installed after the first accident in December last year.

If there is a proper waiting area, at a safe distance away from place where buses come to a halt, passengers could be accommodated there, preventing a safety hazard. Adequate number of seats in an air-conditioned waiting area would be ideal, considering the scorching summer heat, which is expected to set in within a month or two.

A proper queue system, preferably based on tokens issued on a first come basis for respective routes, should be implemented to bring some kind of an order to the chaos that ensue, especially on Fridays, when a bus comes to a halt.

Passengers should not be allowed to loiter, especially dangerously close to the halting area of the buses, as it was seen happening shortly before the accident last Friday.

Mowasalat should also consider setting up satellite bus stations at necessary locations around Doha, so that the rush at the Central Bus Station is reduced and services streamlined.

All the measures cited above and more have to be implemented without any delay as the number of low-income expatriate workers arriving in the country to work on projects connected to the FIFA 2022 World Cup is increasing with each passing day.

Gulf Times had earlier suggested that Mowasalat should restructure its bus service, considering the current and anticipated passenger traffic on various routes. The improvement of the conditions at the Central Bus Station and the setting up of more bus stations as required should also be high on the agenda.