ISLAMABAD: The city managers are exploring options to operate buses on the metro bus track between Peshawar Mor and Islamabad International Airport (IIA) on the direction of the federal government.
Sources said the federal government had directed Chief Commissioner Islamabad and CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed to start the bus service as soon as possible.
Following the directive, the CDA chairman held a meeting on Friday to discuss the options to start the bus service.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat and other officers concerned of the Islamabad Capital Territory administration and the CDA.
Decision taken on direction of federal govt to launch the bus service as soon as possible
The sources said the participants of the meeting were told that on the direction of the federal government the CDA had prepared a PC-I on an emergency basis to purchase 30 buses and set up a ticketing, command and control system for running the bus service.
They were told that the PC-I worth Rs1.9 billion had been forwarded to the interior ministry which was going to approve it soon. The meeting was told that once the PC-1 is approved it would take at least six to eight months to start the bus service as procuring buses was a time-taking process.
The sources said as an alternative solution, services of private bus operators would be engaged for the time being or the Punjab Metro Bus Authority would be requested to operate some buses on the route until the CDA procures the buses and set up a ticketing system.
It was also decided that concerned officers will work on these two proposals and a final decision would be taken at a next meeting.
The CDA chairman directed the officials to complete homework so that within three days after handing and taking over of the track from the National Highway Authority (NHA) by the CDA, the latter would start operating buses on the route.
The meeting was also told that the CDA was separately working on a proposal to reduce the volume of subsidy for the route.
The federal government has been paying over 60 per cent subsidy for the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service. Currently, a large number of metro buses of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service are parked which could be used for the new route between Peshawar Mor and the new airport.
The construction of the metro track, which is near completion, is being executed by the NHA.
Recently, NHA Chairman Sikander Qayyum visited the site and inquired about the progress on work. He was assured that the pace of work would be increased further.
The NHA chairman directed to ensure timely completion of the project by maintaining quality of work.
He said progress on civil work be expedited by mustering additional resources so that visible improvement could be achieved.
Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2020