ISLAMABAD: Finally, the electric buses are set to hit Islamabad’s roads as 10 buses will be arriving in the city on Tuesday (today) followed by 20 more in the next 24 hours.

“A fleet of 30 buses will reach Islamabad in two days: on Tuesday and Wednesday,” said an officer of the CDA. He said these 30 buses will be operated from Convention Centre on two routes. The first route will be from G-11 Nust station to Pims covering G-10, G-9 and G-8 and the second from Pims, G-7, G-6, G-6, National Library, Bari Imam and Quaid-i-Azam University.

The service to be started in a few days will be available from 6am to 10pm daily. Besides, 70 more buses will reach Karachi in a couple of days which after customs clearance will be transported to Islamabad. The last fleet of 60 buses will reach Islamabad later.

“Electric buses will reach in Islamabad from Tuesday. This was informed in a meeting chaired by CDA Chairman Muhammad Ali Randhawa at CDA headquarters,” said a press release issued on Monday.

Buses to run on two new routes from G-11 Nust station to Pims and from Pims to Quaid-i-Azam University, says official

The CDA chairman said a strategy would be devised to give subsidy to deserving segments of society, including persons with disabilities and students.

The CDA has set up a temporary depot with six electric chargers at the Convention Centre to operate the 30 buses. However, the civic agency will face a crisis-like situation when it will receive more buses as there are no depots and chargers for them. The CDA has been in the tendering process for the establishment of two depots since December 2023; however, the contract is yet to be awarded.

Sources said that in February technical bids were opened followed by opening of financial bids and National Logistic Cell turned out to be the lowest bidder. However, its bid was too higher than the estimated costs; therefore, the civic agency is yet to award the contract. There is also a likelihood that the civic agency may go for a fresh tendering.

It had last year planned three sites for construction of the depots - Zero Point, I-9 and Tramri. However, work is yet to be started on anyone of them. “The delay in establishing the depots warrants proper inquiry,” said an official.

The CDA has acquired 160 buses by a contractor, National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC), which will operate the buses. The CDA will pay it Rs306 to Rs331 per kilometre.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during his previous tenure, had directed the CDA to launch new bus services on 13 routes. He had constantly pushed the CDA to start the service and as a result the civic agency engaged the NRTC to procure the buses from an international firm that manufactures buses in China.

He had also inaugurated three metro bus services: Orange Line, Green Line and Blue Line. The buses plying on the three routes belong to the CDA and they are providing great relief to thousands of passengers daily.

After the closure of the Government Transport Service (GTS), no effort was made to launch any bus service in Islamabad. However, during the previous term of the PML-N government (2013-18), the Rawalpindi- Islamabad metro service was started followed by Orange, Green and Blue Lines.

Officials said when the new buses will start operation on the 13 new routes, rural and urban areas and almost all sectors of Islamabad will be connected with each other.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2024

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