PESHAWAR: A prototype bus, approved for the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit, arrived in the provincial capital on Wednesday after being trucked all the way from China.
However, it arrived a few days too late for former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) chief minister Pervez Khattak to inaugurate it.
The outgoing chief minister had tried his utmost to inaugurate the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project before his government’s tenure ended, but his ambitious plans failed to deliver in time.
With the project falling behind its deadlines — described by some as “impossible” — Khattak tried to pull a fast one by seeking to inaugurate the first part of the project, Reach-1.
In this too, however, he failed with work on the project extending beyond May 28, the last day of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Fate of Peshawar Metro Bus hangs in balance
In a statement issued on Wednesday by the TransPeshawar — the urban mobility company which will operate the buses —the bus which arrived on Wednesday is 12-metres-long.
TransPeshawar aims to purchase as many as 220 buses for the project. Of these, 155 will be 12-metres-long while 65 will be longer variants, at least 18-metres-long, which are expected to ply through the main corridor of BRT as well as on the direct service (feeder) routes of Peshawar BRT Project.
“I am glad that finally after a lot of struggle, the prototype bus makes its way to Peshawar,” stated Shahzad Khan Bangash, the additional chief secretary of K-P and chairman of the TransPeshawar board of directors.
“This is just a demo version which has been already tested in China but we need to conduct additional testing as per conditions in Peshawar,” he added.
BRT’s reach-1 gets new deadline
TransPeshawar further said that the buses are hybrid — which means they can run on diesel as well as electric power. Moreover, the buses are environment-friendly and tend to reduce carbon emissions.
According to Asian Development Bank estimates, the Peshawar BRT will reduce 31,000 tonnes of Co2 emissions after implementation when compared to the existing transport system of Peshawar.
Further, these buses are wifi-enabled with AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) facility –to track the real-time location of a bus.
A significant feature of BRT buses is Universal Access System (UAS), which is a key factor used to globally evaluate BRT systems.
With low floor and ramps, the BRT buses are capable enough to handle people with disabilities.
As per cultural needs of the region, the buses also sport separate compartments for women.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2018.