ISLAMABAD: Buses for the Peshawar Mor-Islamabad International Airport metro bus service have finally been dispatched from China and are expected to reach the federal capital by the middle of next month.

To speed up the service, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed has increased the number of officers in the team entrusted to operate the bus service.

At the same time, the CDA has also written a letter to the contractor of the bus route, National Highway Authority (NHA), to complete all civil works as soon as possible and hand over the stations as well as the route to the operators.

The CDA chairman on Saturday visited various sections of the bus track and held on-site briefings by the project director (PD) and his team that has been enhanced to 10 members from three.

Ship carrying buses leaves China; NHA asked to complete civil works on track at earliest

Project director Qazi Umar said 30 buses had finally been boarded on the ship from an adjoining port of Zhenjiang as Shanghai city as well its port were under a strict lockdown due to the resurgence of Covid-19 cases.

It takes around 18 days in normal circumstances for a ship to reach the port in Karachi and another week for clearance formalities.

The CDA chairman was informed that it would take around three days for the buses after reaching Islamabad to be synchronised with the required digital software and electronics of the bus stations.

The chairman noted that all civil works and operational requirements had to be completed within two to three weeks so that all local infrastructure needs could be made ready as the buses arrive.

Moreover, the top management of the CDA witnessed the conjoining of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad and the airport metro bus services at Faiz Ahmed Faiz station.

The station is situated close to the excise and taxation office and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and two separate platforms have been identified for the different bus services.

Talking to media at the Faiz Ahmed Faiz station, the CDA chairman said: “Trial run for Faiz Ahmad Faiz junction has been carried out successfully today, and after brief trials related to digitisation the schedule will be developed and by Monday regular service will commence from here.”

He added that people coming from Secretariat as well as Saddar can board the airport metro line without leaving the station.

At the same time, a temporary Operation Command and Control Centre (OCC) has been established and made operational at the metro bus depot, Peshawar Mor, where round-the-clock monitoring of ticketing as well as cameras has commenced.

A firm, Enjoyor, has been awarded the contract for installation of smart ticketing and OCC at Rs980 million, and the same firm has been awarded the contract to perform maintenance and operation services for 10 years at Rs2.98 billion.

These services include operation and maintenance of automated gates at the platforms and other facilities, including elevators, escalators, generators etc.

The contract to operate the bus service has been won by Faisal Movers for 10 years at Rs149 per kilometre with a minimum guarantee of 60,000 km per annum.

However, during a visit to various stations, a significant amount of civil works deficiencies were observed, including missing or broken tiles at numerous spots and ongoing internal electrical and paint work.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2022

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