At first sight the reports that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in Islamabad is to launch a new gas-powered bus service for the residents of the city is nothing but good news. Two transport companies have already been shortlisted and four routes proposed. The project will particularly benefit the working class, students and women. As many as 15,000 passengers may be carried every day. So far so good. That all may not be as it seems rears its head when we are told that the project will not materialise for at least ‘three or four’ months. Special bus terminals and stops are to be built and buses are to rotate through the system to leave from the terminals every five minutes. Grand if it happens.
But let us look a little closer and consider the reply of a nameless spokesman for the CDA to a question from a journalist. Mr Nameless Spokesman said that currently the project was delayed due to a ‘fuel issue’ and the non-availability of CNG stations large enough to accommodate the buses (said to be ‘huge’) that would run the service. We suggest that before the CDA arouses all our expectations with an announcement of a bus service, that they ensure firstly that there is gas to run the buses and then that there are CNG fuel stations big enough to actually accommodate them. And how long to build a bus terminal? Three or four months? (Residents of Islamabad collapse in helpless laughter.)