ISLAMABAD: The first batch of 30 electric buses from China, out of a total of 160, is yet to arrive in the capital.

According to sources, it was expected that in the next few days, the first batch of buses would set off from China in a special vessel, but due to unavailability of the vessel, they would not be arriving any time soon.

“We are in touch with the authorities in China and efforts are underway to load buses on a vessel on Thursday (today),” an official said, adding that the first batch of 30 buses could reach Karachi port in three weeks time and then they would be brought to Islamabad, followed by two other batches in the next two months.

The buses would be operated on 13 routes by the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) - the contractor of the CDA which has placed orders for the 160 buses with an international firm that has been manufacturing buses in China. As per the agreement, the CDA will pay the NRTC about Rs306 to Rs331 per kilometre to operate the buses.

The 13 routes include Police Foundation/Orange Line Station to Red Line Faiz Ahmed Faiz Station in I-8; Allama Iqbal Station to Red Line Potohar Station; Pims to Secretariat; D-12 to G-10; F-11 to Red Line F-8 Station; G-11 to Pims; Aabpara to Tramri Chowk; Nilor to Khanna Pul; Pirwadhai Chowk to Faizabad; B-17 to Chungi Number 26 and I-16 to Chungi Number 26.

Earlier, the CDA had intended to procure the buses from its own funding, but in February last year, the civic agency decided to hire the services of a contractor and NRTC won the contract.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2024

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