The mega project that is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was launched with an aim to provide cost-effective and efficient public transport but instead the buses find themselves stuck in Peshawar’s dense traffic.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government launched the project almost 14 months ago and after initial temporary suspensions due to technical reasons it was estimated that around 0.4 million people would use the BRT daily. Officials of Trans Peshawar, terming the project successful and a speedy means of transport, informed The Express Tribune that the buses arrive within 4 minutes.
However, the same speedy service is non-existent on the feeder routes of the BRT which have long waiting times and even longer queues. Acknowledging the problem, Umair Muhammad, spokesperson for Trans Peshawar, blamed the city’s traffic. “Nobody has lodged any complaint regarding delayed services on the main corridor but on the feeder routes the problem is that BRT buses share the road with other vehicles,” he said.
The city’s traffic choking the road for the buses is a nuisance for passengers. Sajid Ali, a police constable belonging to district Hangu who travels home every three days, while holding his place in the line, despondently informed The Express Tribune that he would not be able to make it home today. “I do not know if the roads are closed or what is going on because there is no BRT bus available at the station and there are at least a 100 people ahead of me waiting for their turn,” he said.
A considerably worried Ali informed that at this pace it would take him 3 hours to reach Kohat Bus Stand which was some 5 kilometers away from Dabgari. “I am afraid that once I reach the Kohat station there will not be any vehicles departing for Hangu so I might have to spend the night at the station,” Ali lamented, while dejectedly looking around for a bus to pull up.
Similarly, Safiullah, a student standing in one such long queue on the Dabgari terminal, complained that it was routine for him to wait. “They should increase the number of buses in rush hour or minimize the time schedule between buses,” an irate Safiullah suggested.
The long queues are a daily occurrence for other commuters like Ali and Safiullah, who get dropped at the Dabgari terminal from the BRT’s express routes, and all unanimously expressed their frustration about the problematic Kohat road feeder route.
Muhammad, the Trans Peshawar official, stated that the department was working with the city’s traffic police to find a solution but the volume of traffic on feeder routes was simply too high. “Amongst other solutions, we are planning on adding an express route on the Kohat road feeder route which will minimize the problems being faced by the commuters,” he informed The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2021.
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