ISLAMABAD: Although the newly-introduced metro bus services in the capital have been operating for the last few months, the passengers are not being charged any fare as the Capital Development Authority (CDA) awaits a go-ahead from the federal government.
The CDA had sent a summary to the government, suggesting fare for the intra-city journey, but so far the civic body has not been informed about the fate of the proposal.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif inaugurated the Orange Line Metro in April, which plies from Peshawar Mor to Islamabad airport. He had ordered the CDA to provide free bus service to people for one month. On July 7, the prime minister also inaugurated the Green Line Metro (from Bhara Kahu to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences) and Blue Line Metro (from Koral to Pims) and ordered the civic body to run these services free for a month.
According to sources, last month, the CDA sent a summary to the interior ministry for getting approval of the fare rate from the federal government, however, the government has yet not taken any decision.
Civic body proposes fare of Rs50 for green, blue lines, up to Rs150 for orange line
In its summary, the CDA had proposed Rs50 for green and blue lines bus service and Rs50 for the Orange Line service and Rs100 from N-5 Station to airport which means that a passenger will pay Rs150 to travel from Peshawar Mor to the airport.
The CDA had hired services of a bus operator against Rs147 per kilometre for Orange Line service. The operator was also engaged to run the Green and Blue bus services on a temporary basis until a new contractor was hired.
A CDA official said further delay in approval of fare would put a burden on the CDA as the civic agency would have to pay to the contractor as per its agreement. He said that once the fare was approved, the burden of bearing expenditure on these bus services would reduce.
He said for the Green and Blue services, work on bus stops was nearing completion and the CDA would also go for branding all stations to collect revenue.
Similarly, he said that four sites of petrol stations have already been earmarked along Kashmir Highway and regular earning of these stations will be spent on metro bus services to make it a sustainable project.
It is relevant to note here that on Independence Day, PM Sharif had directed the CDA to run inter-city bus service within one month’s time. Meanwhile, CDA with the help of National University of Sciences and Technology (Nust) recently started a study to identify potential routes for F, G, H and I series of sectors.
The capital city after GT Bus Service (which was abolished in early 90s) had no public bus service facility and on several occasions in the past, CDA made hollow announcements in this regard. However, no practical step was taken.
However, the government paid special focus on the bus service and in four months, three bus services have been made operational.
“Following the directives of the prime minister, we are working to launch inter-city bus service in one month,” said an officer of CDA.
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022