The Lahore Transport Company (LTC) has decided to extend the first stretch of a special bus-only lane for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system from 7.3 to 10 kilometres, said engineers and officials.
Work on the bus lane began in February and the first phase is scheduled for completion by March 30. The BRT is to provide a 27-km bus corridor from Gajju Mata to Shahdara running down the middle of Ferozepur Road, which runs roughly from southeast to northwest Lahore. A Turkish firm is to provide the final master plan for the project in March.
Initially, the first phase of BRT was to run about 5.6 km from Chungi Amer Sidhu to Kalma Chowk. The route was later extended to 7.3 km, running from Kamahan to Kalma Chowk. On Saturday, LTC officials met and decided to start the first phase further south from Gajju Mata. The distance from Gajju Mata to Kalma Chowk is around 10 km.
The route will have 10 bus stops, at Ashyana, Chungi Amar Sidhu, Ghazi Road, the Qainchi, the Phatak, Children’s Hospital, Gulab Devi Hospital, Naseerabad, Model Town and Kalma Chowk. The entire BRT will have 38 stops.
Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) officials said that overhead pedestrian bridges would be built at each stop. The bus lane would expand from about 10 metres wide to about 18 metres at the stops.
The officials added that a dedicated bus-only lane could not be built on the entire Ferozepur Road, as there was not enough space in some areas. For example, there would be no bus lane on the bridge at Chungi Amar Sidhu. For one, the median cannot be removed since the bridge’s support joints are located there. Second, the bridge is narrow and building a bus lane down the middle would leave little space for other traffic.
LTC General Manager (Planning) Uzair Shah said that the estimated cost of the project had gone up from Rs1.48 billion to Rs2 billion. He said that 120 buses would run on the route every two minutes and special 18-metre long buses would be imported in May.
Local buses would be run on the completed portion of the BRT before May, he said. A smart ticketing system would also be set up, he said, so passengers could swipe cards to get on buses, ending the need for conductors.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2012.