PESHAWAR: Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) would get Rs2.8 billion subsidy during the current year, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government spokesperson Kamran Khan Bangash.

He said that Peshawar BRT was incurring less expenditure on subsidy as compared to other metro projects in the country. He said that BRT was also enjoying higher ridership in contrast to other mass transit projects in the country.

“This is perfectly in line with the vision of our prime minister. The subsidy is meant to benefit people. We could have charged more to cut down the subsidy but it would have hurt commuters, who are from the middle and lower middle class,” said Mr Bangash.

Govt spokesperson says it serves about 160,000 passengers daily

He said that the project was being unfairly criticised over subsidy in media, which were contrary to facts. He said that Lahore Metro was incurring Rs4.1 billion in annual subsidy, Multan Metro was getting Rs3.6 billion in subsidy, Rawalpindi Metro was getting Rs3.6 billion subsidy and Orange Line was getting Rs8 billion subsidy.

In contrast, the government spokesperson said, Peshawar BRT would get Rs2.8 billion subsidy during the current year. He said that BRT generated Rs734 million revenue in 2020-21 despite Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Separately, a statement issued here said that the success of BRT was measured by service comfort and affordability as it was being operated on the same concept.

The statement said that initially Peshawar BRT was planned to be operated at a fare of Rs50 to have maximum financial income, however, the provincial government decided to facilitate the working class in the difficult period of pandemic. Owing to this reason, the fare was reduced to Rs10, which was lowest for any public transport in the country, it added.

The statement said that Peshawar BRT served the maximum number of passengers compared with any other such system in the country. It serves about 160,000 passengers per day.

“Other system in the country like Lahore Metro Bus System, Multan Metro Bus System and Rawalpindi Metro Bus Service serve about 40,000 to 110,000 passengers per day,” it said.

The statement said that the revenue expenditure gap of Peshawar BRT was 50 per cent less than other such projects in the country.

“It should also be noted that being third generation system, 50,000 per cent of feeder route passengers are not included in the commuters’ count, while the other systems are factoring them in,” said the statement.

It said that lately Asian Development Bank conducted site survey of the system, where female passengers showed satisfaction over its performance. The working women and students said that they used to pay Rs300 to Rs400 to taxicabs for their commute to work and college, and now they paid only Rs15 to Rs20, it added.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2021

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