Lahore Rapid Mass Transit System (LRMTS) or Lahore Metro Route Map
Dailytimes as on Saturday, July 07, 2007
LRMT fares for 2011 — Kahna to Shahdara Rs 140?
* Bus fares from Kahna to Shahdara in 2011 expected at Rs 30
LAHORE: Passengers of the Lahore Rapid Mass Transit (LRMT) would be charged Rs 125 to Rs 140 to travel from one end to the other of the 27 kilometre-long transport system.
Sources associated with the project told Daily Times on Thursday that this one-side fare had been calculated after taking into account the rendered $2.5 billion cost of the project, which is expected to be completed by 2011. Sources said that to pay back the loan likely to be incurred on the LRMT project, the government would have to charge high fares from the passengers. Currently, the public transport fare from Kahna to Shahdara is between Rs 20 to 25. By 2011, it would rise between Rs 25 and Rs 30. They said that to charge a passenger of the LRMT Rs 30 for a one-side visit, the government would have to give a subsidy of at least Rs 100 per person, which was not possible for the government. Sources said that under the previous arrangement, according to which the project was to be carried out on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis with financial assistance of the Japanese Government in the shape of a soft loan, repayable over a period of 40 years, the project cost had been estimated at $500 million.
Sources said that with this estimate, the fare from one end to the other had been calculated at Rs 21 per person. They said that the project cost had now been revised and increased and the government had taken loans instead of soft loans under the BOT arrangement. Therefore, the fares too would now be increased and there was no possibility that per-visit fare would remain below Rs 125, sources told Daily Times. They said that considering these fares, the project would have to face severe criticism and force the government to take more loans for its maintenance.
Sources said that with the current pace of work on the project, it would be very difficult to complete it by 2011. They added that if the government extended the project beyond 2011, which it would have to, the cost would go up further, forcing the government to raise the fares more. The LRMT project was prepared in 1996 during the regime of Benazir Bhutto by the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA). The Japanese government, after approval from its cabinet, had agreed to finance the project on BOT basis. Now the government has planned to LRMT through soliciting loans from different sources.
Transport Secretary Agha Nadeem told Daily Times that the government had proposed the fare from one end to the other of the LRMT between Rs 10 and 22. Asked that this fare was proposed under the previous arrangement and the project cost had now quadrupled, he said, “Ask the people objecting to its viability to run it”. He said that currently, the Punjab government was funding the project itself. Asked that the Transport Department did not have engineers for such a huge public project requiring professional expertise of the highest order, he said that recently, the department had hired seven consultants for the project. He said that pilot project would be launched by 2011.
The provincial government had earmarked Rs 640 million for the second phase in its 2007-08 budget, following successful completion of the project’s first phase in March 2007. Various studies had been conducting in the first phase of the project and the second stage would include its designing and the setting up of its workshops and depots. The government has also planned to construct the base station at this stage of the project.