Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday his government plans to launch air-conditioned buses in seven major cities of the Punjab. The announcement came on Tuesday during a meeting with Lahore Transport Company Chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan and Bus Rapid Transit System Chairman Mehar Ishtiaq.
The Planning and Development Board chairman, Transport and Finance Departments secretaries, divisional commissioners, Lahore Development Authority director general, the district coordination officer and National Engineering Services Pakistan (Pvt) Limited representatives were also present.
A Chief Minister’s Secretariat spokesperson told The Express Tribune that several decisions were taken in the meeting regarding the air-conditioned bus service, establishing the Bus Rapid Transit Authority and modernising the public transport system in the province.
The chief minister while addressing the meeting said that the provision of affordable and comfortable transport facilities to the masses was one of the government’s priorities. He said that air-conditioned CNG public transport buses will soon be launched in Lahore, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Multan, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Sialkot.
He said that 350 buses had so far been imported from Turkey. Out of these, he said, 200 had arrived in Lahore last week. The remaining were undergoing the clearance process in Karachi. The chief minister said that the service would soon be launched in collaboration with the private sector.
The chief minister said that a proposal to launch a bus service up to Wagha border was also under consideration. He also directed the district coordination officers to take special measures for regulating traffic in their districts.
He said that establishing a certified parking company was the need of the hour. He said it would soon be set up under the city district government, which would be responsible for safe and suitable parking arrangements at various points in the city.
The chief minister said that the Bus Rapid Transit Authority would run a Metro Bus Service. He said that the Metro Bus Service would prove a paradigm shift in the public transport system in the country.
He also directed the officers concerned to make necessary arrangements to accommodate the disabled and senior citizens. He said besides installation of electronic ticketing in Metro Bus Service, proper training will be given to its staff.
“A Metro Bus would be available every two minutes,” he added.
Later, Hassaan briefed the chief minister on various aspects of the Bus Rapid Transit System.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2012.