LAHORE: A bus service to bring passengers to the Lahore Metro Bus stations was inaugurated in Lahore on Monday by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
To facilitate Metro Bus passengers, the Feeder Bus Service (FBS) will ply 200 air-conditioned buses from 6am till 11pm on 14 routes. These buses will cover about 130 kilometres along the entire Metro Bus route and 120,000 commuters will benefit with the new service.
While addressing the inaugural ceremony, Shehbaz announced similar bus services for the Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Multan metro bus routes. “The service will be useful for people living in areas near to the Metro Bus stations,” he said.
Commuters will be charged Rs15 fare for one side and would only be charged Rs20 rupees on the Metro Bus under an interlinked fare system.
“Subsidies of billions of rupees and provision of best transport facilities to common man will be a constant prick for the elites and they will remain in pain on the provision of facilities to common man,” he said while referring to his political rivals. “Those who travel in Mercedes, Pajeros and expensive cars feel insecure and jealous after seeing a common man travelling with comfort and respect.”
He added that the common man has been deprived of health, education and other facilities while elites were keeping hold of all the facilities. “Poor man has to go door to door for basic health facilities while the upper class can get cured anywhere with much ease,” he lamented.
Shehbaz said those involved in corruption, unscrupulous deeds and frauds had no right to criticise the welfare projects. “Their looted money should be showered on common man and should be spent on providing health, education and transportation facilities,” he said.
The Punjab Mass-transit Authority (PMA) had inked an agreement with Daewoo Pakistan in February 2016 for procurement, operation and maintenance of 200 feeder buses for integrated bus operations in Lahore.
These buses were to hit Lahore’s roads in April last year, but the project was stalled owing to disagreements between the authority and the operator on contractual terms. The issue was later resolved amicably and the operator ordered new buses.
Daewoo has invested Rs3 billion in buying the buses, including 162 large and 38 small ones. The company will own and operate these buses on the feeder routes of the Lahore Metro Bus service and bill the PMA on per kilometre basis. The authority will pay Rs165 and Rs140 per kilometre for large and small buses, respectively.
Documents show the contract runs for six years, and can be extended with mutual consent. The authority has plans to run 1,400 standard or minibuses on 104 routes with a route length of 951km.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2017.