ISLAMABAD: The much-awaited metro bus service from Peshawar Mor to the Islamabad International Airport is likely to start in April as buses are expected to arrive from China at the end of this month.
Sources said the buses had been manufactured and were currently undergoing pre-shipment inspection by a third-party in China. They said on March 15 the ship will start its journey to Karachi.
“Place in a ship has been booked. On March 15, the ship carrying buses for Peshawar Mor to Airport rout will start its journey from China to Karachi,” said an official source.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) was planning to inaugurate the bus service on March 23 but due to a delay on part of the manufacturing company in arranging the buses because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the inauguration was delayed till next month.
Currently, buses undergoing pre-shipment inspection in China, official says
The CDA, after a competitive process, had placed the order for procuring 30 buses with the Higer Bus Company a few months ago.
The CDA took over the metro bus project in March last year from the National Highway Authority (NHA) on the direction of the federal government and started the process to procure the buses.
For the fiscal year 2020-21, the government has earmarked Rs300 million for the project.
According to the CDA’s technical committee, Higer company turned out to be the lowest bidder by submitting a bid of Rs728 million for the 30 buses.
CDA officials said the bids had been opened in the presence of all three qualified bidders and the Financial Evaluation Committee members.
They said Foton and Auto Park had submitted a bid of Rs33 million against one bus while Master Motors Corporation offered Rs29.8 million per bus. However, Higer Company submitted a bid of Rs24.2 million against each bus.
The sources said as per the earlier plan, 24 buses would be operated from Peshawar Mor to N5 bus station near G.T. Road while six others, having extra space for luggage, would run from N5 to the airport round the clock.
However, they said, under a new plan some of the buses will be plying on Islamabad Expressway to provide relief to commuters.
The corridors and stations of the metro track have already been constructed and now command and control, ticketing, station management, cleanliness and security systems are being completed.
In March last year, NHA after construction of the corridor and stations handed over the project to the CDA.
The NHA had launched work on the 25.6km-long track from Peshawar Mor to IIA worth Rs16 billion in Jan 2017. The project was supposed to complete in Aug 2018 but its civil work was completed last year.
Currently, there is no public bus service to the airport which is 32 km away from Zero Point.
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2022