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Shuttle bus service launched in DHA Lahore

LAHORE – A new bus service for travel within the Defence Housing Authority was launched at the Y-Block commercial area here on Wednesday.

The DHA Coaster Shuttle Service consists of four air-conditioned buses, imported at Rs7.3 million each from Japan, that will cover all of Defence from Phase I to Phase V, making 28 stops in the process.

The service will run from 6am to 10pm and take some 30 minutes to complete the 30-kilometre route.

“This service has been put in place to overcome the traffic congestion within DHA and to provide decent transport facilities to the residents,” said DHA administrator Brig Muhammad Aslam Rana at the inauguration.

The 28 bus stops, including shade, benches and route maps, have been constructed and the major stops include a spot near the Lahore Grammar School in Phase V, Bedian Road, the X-Block Caltex Pump, Walton Road, Y-Block Commercial Market, Ghazi Chowk, H-Block commercial area, Defence National Hospital, Lalik Jan Chowk and Wateen Chowk. The coasters will take five to seven minutes in each phase. The buses will come with hostesses to facilitate passengers. Ten seats in each coaster have been set aside for female passengers. A single journey will cost Rs30, said DHA officials.

Currently only Daewoo buses are allowed to enter DHA. DHA public relations officer Tajammul Hussain said the new service would not affect the Daewoo service, which runs outside Defence as well. Asked why other buses weren’t allowed to enter DHA, he said: “We only prohibit substandard services.”

Mubashir Hayat, who lives in Phase V, said the new service was much needed as public transport was scarce in the area. “We rarely see public transport in this part of Defence, and even if we do it costs almost Rs200 on a rickshaw from here to Defence Chowk,” he said.

Mohammad Amin Baig, a resident of Phase IV, also welcomed the new service but wondered whether four buses would be enough.

DHA officials said that they would introduce four more buses at the end of next month if the service proved popular.

The last DHA bus service was shelved a year and a half after it was launched because residents complained of irregular schedules and lack of maintenance of buses.

The Punjab government had claimed in 2008 to revolutionise the public transport sector to mitigate commuters’ hardships and traffic mess. Establishing the Lahore Transport Company (LTC) by delegating powers to it withdrawn from the Punjab Transport Department, the CM had announced to bring more than 2,000 buses. Local transporters were engaged and some memorandums of understanding (MoU) were also singed. Recently, the LTC mentioned 500 buses again but there has been no sign of progress yet.

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