Sightseeing: A double-decker to view the capital

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is gearing up to start a double-decker tourist bus for sites around Islamabad, particularly the Margalla Hills.

Right now people need to either rely on their own cars or vans as there is no public transport for the Margalla Hills in particular. This becomes quite expensive for tourists. For example, a taxi will charge Rs300 for the half and hour journey to go to Pir Sohawa one way. People also rent cars to make the journey but are forced to pay for the vehicle for the whole day even if they need it for just a few hours. This price starts at Rs2,000 on average.

The tourist bus service idea was the brainchild of the former CDA chairman Kamran Lashari. The man in charge now, Imtiaz Inyat Elahi, followed up and gave the relevant departments two weeks to come up with the terms and conditions and invite the companies to submit Memorandums of Understanding. The CDA would soon float tenders for local or multinational firms. Firms would be given the contract to run the service and employ drivers trained to manage vehicles in this terrain. The buses would be imported.

A CDA board member told The Express Tribune that to start off with they would have four to five buses. According to international standards, the buses would have wide windows so that passengers could also enjoy the cloudy and rainy weather on the hilltop. “Double-decker buses are more commonly used for long distance travel and are less common in cities,” he said. “But they are popular in some cities of Europe and in parts of Asia.” He said that they would be safe.

A tourist bus service would also ease the rush along the twisting route. Popular destinations for picnics such as Lake View Park, Shakarparian, Daman-e-Koh and Pir Sohawa, will be covered by this service.
While the CDA official was not able to name the fare as these details have yet to be worked out, he did say that they would make sure it is “reasonable” so everyone could enjoy the service.

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