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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Lauded by conference-goers, COP18 buses cause consternation for many Doha residents

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While convenient for most climate change participants, the 400-strong fleet of busses shuttling COP18 convention-goers around Doha are causing mounting frustration among many Qatar residents.

Shuttles run regularly through 32 transport routes across Doha, picking up participants from hotels, the Doha Exhibition Center and the Qatar National Convention Center.

The idea behind them in part is to decrease emissions from private cars that would be used by the 17,000+ participants during the conference, which started on Nov. 26 and ends on Friday. 

But over the course of the week, complaints about bus shortages for commuters and questions about how energy-efficient the shuttles really are have emerged.

Stranded commuters

imageAccording to the Peninsula, many of the buses – and bus drivers – in use have been co-opted from the Karwa fleet that serves commuters. 

A notice about a “reduction in frequencies” on 19 of 38 routes was only posted on Friday, sparking complaints among customers who say they have not been given enough time or information to recalibrate their transportation plans for the duration of the conference.

The Peninsula reports:

“I was really surprised because they announced frequency cuts over the weekend and I didn’t know about the changes in the schedule,” said an Indian shopkeeper, who was waiting for the bus at the terminal for more than an hour.

…“I think I have to wake up very early for the next several days to cope with this,” said Rodrigo.

Energy inefficient

Meanwhile, on Twitter, others point out the climate quandary the buses themselves present.

Have you been affected by the COP18 buses over the past week?

Thoughts?

Credit: Top photo by Arend Kuester; second photo by Shaival Dalal

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