ISLAMABAD: Uncertainty that prevailed over starting metro bus service from Peshawar Mor to Islamabad International Airport finally ended after the federal government gave a go-ahead to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to run the service.

“On the direction of the federal government, the CDA will purchase 30 buses, which will be operated through a private contractor,” Special Assistant to Prime Minister on CDA Affairs Ali Nawaz Awan said.

He said the bus service will be started on priority basis.

“During our two years in government, we launched several mega projects, such as G-7/G-8 interchange, Barma bridge, and Koral and PWD underpasses. Soon people will see buses plying on the metro tracks as well,” he said, adding that the CDA had been asked to complete PC-I for procurement of buses.

The special assistant said the National Highway Authority (NHA) which had been executing the project of the metro bus track, had almost completed its work. “It (NHA) is giving final touches to the project,” he added.

Asked to prepare PC-I to procure 30 buses

When contacted, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed said a team of the civic body had started preparing PC-I.

When contacted, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed said that a team of the civic body had started preparing the PC-I, adding that after procuring the buses, the civic bodywill operate them through contractors. The CDA will also involve Economic Affairs Division for procurement of buses, he said.

Meanwhile, CDA’s spokesperson Mazhar Hussain said in pursuance of the directions of the government, the CDA has already prepared a model for operationalisation of the Metro Bus System from Peshawer Mor to New Islamabad Airport.

He said a meeting was held in the office of Special Assistant Ali Nawaz Awan where modalities of this model were discussed.

“The model of the metro bus service includes fleet acquisition, IT, security surveillance, construction of allied infrastructure, and command and control centre,” he said, adding that operation and maintenance would be outsourced through four different service contracts.

He said the initial estimate showed a deficit of Rs273.32 million per year which shall be capped by the federal government and CDA.

Sources said the CDA and the federal government were also considering to request a friendly country for 30 environment-friendly electric buses for Islamabad free of cost.

Sources said during the meeting, the proposed fare was also discussed and it was suggested that Rs50 should be charged from Peshawar Mor to G.T. Road and Rs100 from Peshawar Mor to Airport. However, the final decision will be taken at a later stage, sources said.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2020

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