Women-only buses gathering dust at Peshawar bus terminal

Updated 04 Jul 2018

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The buses have been parked in the open in Peshawar. — Photo by Abdul Majeed Goraya
The buses have been parked in the open in Peshawar. — Photo by Abdul Majeed Goraya

PESHAWAR: Fourteen women-only buses donated by the United Nations Office for Project Services for Abbottabad and Mardan have been gathering dust at a Peshawar bus terminal for the last two months.

The officials insist that the over Rs100 million worth of Japanese buses will take around two more months to hit the roads due to a delay in the selection of their operator.

The ‘pink buses’ as they’re called were formally handed over to the provincial government on May 11 and have been parked in the open at the Lahore Bus Stand along the GT Road since.

Officials say pink buses will take two more months for operation in Abbottabad, Mardan

Of them, seven were meant for Abbottabad and Mardan each. They value Rs7.3 million each.

The TransPeshawar, an urban mobility company, which was set up to operate the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit service, has also been tasked with operating the pink buses.

On June 6, it had invited bids for the operation and maintenance of pink buses in both districts.

The bids were scheduled to be opened on June 29.

A pre-bidding meeting took place at the TransPeshawar offices on June 20. It decided to extend the last date to submit bids until July 10 due to a lack of interest of potential operators.

The minutes show that the meeting chaired by TransPeshawar acting chief executive officer Fayyaz Khan decided to extend the tender opening date for at least two weeks and said the bids would be received the same day.

Representatives of three transport companies, including Daewoo Pakistan, Nosheen Transport and Veda Transit Solutions, were present in that meeting.

An official in the know told Dawn that besides provisions of the buses, the UNOPS was also to identify and set up bus stops in Abbottabad and Mardan.

He said construction of 15 bus stops equipped with solar panels and lights each had been completed in both districts.

The official however said the bidding process was likely to take one and a half more months to complete.

When contacted, a senior official of the TransPehsawar said bids were scheduled to take earlier floated on June 6 but the June 20 pre-bidding meeting decided to extend the bids submission date till July 10 due to the lack of interest on the part of the bidders.

He said the company was in contact with many companies to persuade them to bid for the service besides making the bidding process flexible.

In Mardan, the route of pink buses is from Baghdada Chowk to Abdul Wali Khan University (Garden Campus) via Government Girls Degree College, Muqam Chowk, Malakand Chowk, Abdul Qadeer Khan Chowk, College Chowk,Bacha Khan Chowk, Ansi College, BISE Mardan, Bacha Khan Medical College, Sport Complex Mardan, Peshawar Model School, Mardan bus stop and Toru CNG Bus Stop, while in Abbottabad, it is from Mansehra bus stop to Frontier Medical College via Fawara Chowk, Gammi Adda Stop, Lady Garden, APS Abbottabad, Olympics ground, CMH, Ghaurra Chowk, CSD, Supply Road, Sethi Masjid, Burn Hall, Daewoo bus terminal, Mandian bus stop, Ayub Medical College, Women and Children Hospital, Hazara Agriculture Research Center, Abbottabad Trade Centre and University of Engineering and Technology rest house.

The previous government’s desperate bid to operate pink buses on the BRT route in Peshawar had triggered a major crisis at the TransPeshawar in May this year.

The company’s chief executive officer was sacked prompting the chairman of the company’s board of directors and top management to quit in protest.

However, the government later persuaded the quitting mangers to stay put.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2018