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Launch of 300 buses remains a pipe dream

Commuters are still waiting for the new bus service on different routes of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad promised by the Punjab government.

Talking to ‘The News,’ commuters said that the provincial government has forgotten the work of public welfare.

About eight months back, the District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA) sent a summary regarding launch of 300 new buses on different routes of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif for approval. The new buses were to be run by the Pakistan Transport Welfare Association and Owners Association on 11 routes of the twin cities. They were expected to be on roads within a week at that time, but still there were no signs of the new buses, sources said.

Sources said at that time different transport companies had submitted proposals to the DRTA for approval and assured if the Punjab government approved their demands buses would come on roads the very next day.

District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA) Secretary Syed Asad Raza Kazmi told ‘The News’ that they had published a tender to offer different transport companies to launch buses in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, but unfortunately transport companies did not show any interest. The petrol and diesel prices are increasing day-by-day, therefore, transporters are reluctant in launching a new transport service. Secondly, compressed natural gas (CNG) is also not available seven day a week. In this situation, transporters could not afford to launch a new bus service, he said. He admitted that commuters are facing worst transport problems.

A key official in the Punjab Transport Authority (PTA), speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the provincial government is expecting that the federal government would provide buses for Rawalpindi and Islamabad, but the federal government forwarded the case to the Punjab government. Secondly, the Punjab government did not want to provide any kind of relaxation to transporters for plying buses on roads. Therefore, transport companies are not showing any interest in plying buses in twin cities, he said.

Pakistan Transport Welfare Association and Owners Association President Haji Muhammad Akhtar said that the Punjab government was not ready to provide any kind of relaxation, while it should provide proper terminals for buses. He said that transporters are ready to give concession to students but they need government’s help in this matter. He said that the Punjab government should impose ‘Iqra’ tax, which would be a nominal amount of Rs25 or Rs30 per month for every student. They could utilise the fund for providing better transport to students, he said. They only need government’s cooperation and subsidy to resolve the problem of transport in the twin cities, he said. But the Punjab government is showing no response in this matter.

According to details, 60 buses were needed on route no. B-1 between Flashman’s Hotel and Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad, via Murree Road, Faizabad, Zero Point, Aabpara, Melody, China Market and Super Market.

Forty buses were needed on route no. B-2 between Rawalpindi Railway Station and Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad, via Railway Road, Kamran Chowk, Mareer Chowk, Murree Road, Faizabad, Zero Point, Aabpara, Melody, Lal Quarters, Fazal-e-Haq Road, China Chowk and Super Market.

At least thirty buses were needed on route no. B-3 between Dhoke Syedan Chowk and Markaz G-9, via Bakra Mandi Chowk, Chungi No. 22, RA Bazaar, GPO, Kamran Chowk, Mareer Chowk, Liaquat Bagh, Tipu Road, Rawal Road, Chandni Chowk, National Market, Kali Tanki, Haideri Chowk, College Chowk, Gulzar Hotel, Saidpur Road, Pindora, I-9 Police Station, 7-Up Chowk, Education Stop, Peshawar Morr and Masjid Stop.

Twenty-four buses were needed on route no. B-4 between Biscuit Factory (Dhamial Chowk) and Nurpur Shahan via Bakra Mandi Chowk, Chungi No. 22, T&T Chowk, GPO, Kashmir Road, Kamran Chowk, Mareer Chowk, Murree Road, Faizabad, Zero Point, Aabpara, Foreign Office, Prime Minister Secretariat, Diplomatic Enclave and President House Colony.

Forty buses were needed on route no. B-5 between Adiala Jail and Faisal Masjid via Adiala Road, Gulshanabad, Rehman Markaz, Jarahi, Askari-7, 502 Workshop, Lalkurti, Chungi No. 22, RA Bazaar, T&T Chowk, Mall Road, Butt Malka Chowk, Mareer Chowk, Murree Road, Faizabad, Zero Point, T&T Chowk, PIMS, Markaz F-8, Shaheen Chowk, Naval Complex, Faisal Masjid and return to RA Bazaar, Ziarat Chowk, CMH.

Fifty-four buses were needed on route no. B-6 between Tarnol to Hamrahi Adda via Golra Morr, Kohinoor Mills, Pirwadhai Morr, Chur Chowk, Charing Cross, Radio Pakistan, Race Course, MH, Mall Road, T&T Chowk, Butt Malka Chowk, Mareer Chowk, Rashid Minhas Road, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Katchery Chowk, Ayub Park, Al-Shifa, Fauji Foundation Hospital and Soan Adda.

Twenty-three buses were needed on route no B-7 between Humak Model Town and Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad, via Kahuta Morr, Gohra Syedan, Soan Camp, Fauji Foundation, Al-Shifa, Morgah Morr, Kutchery Chowk, Jhanda Chichi, 501 Workshop, Rahimabad, Airport, Dhoke Hafiz, Gulzar-e-Quaid, Airport Chowk, Karal Chowk, Fazaia Chowk, Khanna Pull, Kurri Road, Dhoke Kala Khan, Faizabad, Zero Point, Aabpara, Melody, Polyclinic, China Market and Super Market.

At least twenty buses were needed on route no. B-8 between Rawalpindi Railway Station and Taxila, via Railway Road, Transit Camp, Bakery Chowk, Chur Chowk, Pirwadhai Morr, Kohinoor Mills, Golra Morr, EME College, Jhangi Syedan, Motorway Stop, Tarnol and Sangjani Bypass.

Twenty buses were needed on route no. B-9 between General Bus Stand (Pirwadhai) and Faisal Masjid, Islamabad, via IJ Principal Road, Faizabad, Zero Point, Fire Brigade, CDA, Aabpara, Melody, GPO, Polyclinic, China Market and Super Market.

Twenty-nine buses were needed on route no. B-10 between Rawat and TMA Raja Bazaar Building, via Kahuta Morr, Gora Syedan, Soan Camp, High Court, Fauji Foundation, Al-Shifa, Morgah Morr, Kutchery Chowk, Mareer Hassan, Liaquat Bagh and Gordon College.

Fifteen buses were needed on route no. B-11 between Rawalpindi Railway Station and Golra Sharif, Islamabad, via MH, Radio Station, Charring Cross, Church Chowk, Pirwadhai Morr, Kohinoor Mills, Golra Morr, Mera Jaffar and Golra Railway Station.

Similarly, several far-flung areas around Rawalpindi and Islamabad are without any source of transport.

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