ISLAMABAD: The onset of winter seems to have brought further bad news for commuters in the city. The pressure at most CNG stations is low, making it impossible for them to operate.
This in turn means that wagon owners do not bring their vehicles onto roads, leaving people with no practical means of going from one place to another.
Both the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Transport Authority have promised on several occasions a “speedy” bus service within the city.
The lack of a proper public transport system has long remained a headache for commuters in Islamabad, who complain of shabby facilities being provided by a handful of wagons exercising complete monopoly over the city’s roads. Not only the wagons on these routes are far and few between, but the conductors misbehave and roughen up commuters. Those travelling in these vehicles have little choice but to put up with the treatment meted out to them.
Last year, the CDA unearthed a plan for a public transport facility after scrapping a much-publicised plan to deploy CNG buses. However, the idea was shelved in favour of the speedy bus service due to shortage of CNG, especially in winters.
In January, the CDA’s traffic department was optimistic that the new bus service would be operational within two months. The CDA also briefed the Islamabad Capital Territory and ITP administrations of its plans, but the project was not developed further.
The civic body went so far as to shortlist two transport companies — Hino and Skyways — for providing what it described as “a speedy, reliable and environment-friendly service.” According to the plan for the service’s initial phase, four routes have been selected. These include Route 1 from the Secretariat to Faizabad; Route 2 from Bhara Kahu to Faizabad; Router 3 from the Secretariat to I-10; Route 4 from Faizabad to Blue Area and F-11. Twenty buses carrying a daily load of 20,000 passengers would traverse each route and the service would be extended to other routes if the pilot project is successful.
And ten months and a few more promises later, the bus service remains a pipedream.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.
More in PakistanThree days of fun and learning for children in katchi abadis