LAHORE, Jan 3: Wardens of the City Traffic Police or transport enforcement inspectors of the Lahore Transport Company will escort metro buses from Niazi Intersection (Batti Chowk) to Shahdara because of a delay in the construction of the bus track between these points and an overhead bridge on the River Ravi.

Officials say there will be no interruption on 25-kilometre of the 27-kilometre bus track from Gajjumata to Niazi Chowk, but there will be problems for metro buses on the 2-kilometre portion of the road from Niazi Chowk to Shahdara.

It, officials say, will cause problems in ensuring smooth flow of routine traffic moving along metro buses or crossing intersections on the way after launch of the Metro Bus System by the end of this month.

“The main problem on this stretch is construction of the dedicated overhead bridge that has yet to begin at the River Ravi. It has been delayed because of a delay in finalisation of drawings, approvals from irrigation or other departments and release of funds. Work on the bus pathway from Ravi Bridge to Shahdara has yet to be completed,” an official told Dawn.

The official said the government planned to formally launch the MBS project on its entire 27km route by the end of this month, but now it was not possible. “It will be difficult to escort these articulated buses from Niazi Intersection to Shahdara. How it will be possible for wardens or transport inspectors to ensure smooth passage of these buses simultaneously from Shahdara to Niazi Chowk and vice versa amid the routine traffic congestion?” he asked.

About the reported plan to halt traffic at the Niazi Chowk crossing to give way to metro busses, the official said it would be difficult to do so. “The problem will persist till completion of the dedicated track and the bridge,” he said. About arrival of buses, the official said 20 of the 45 buses had reached Lahore from Karachi and the remaining would reach here before January 20. He said work on installation of elevators, construction of bus stations on the 8.6km long overhead bridge from Ichhra to Taxali, automated ticketing and stoppages announcement was under way.

He said commuters would not be charged for the first 15 days after the metro bus launch and added that the government was planning to give subsidy in fare as well.

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