Urban infrastructure: Metro Bus Service opening delayed, again

Published: January 24, 2013
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 The bus corridor and bus stations from Gajju Mata to Kalma Chowk are finished, but much work still remains on the bus stations for the elevated track. PHOTO: FILE

The bus corridor and bus stations from Gajju Mata to Kalma Chowk are finished, but much work still remains on the bus stations for the elevated track. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: 

The inauguration of the Metro Bus Service, which was due to take place on January 27, is to be delayed for up to a month due to work on the bus stations, The Express Tribune has learnt.

While the bus corridor and 8-kilometre elevated track are largely complete, some 20 bus stations are still under construction, engineers and officials said.

Though the Punjab government maintains that the extensive MBS infrastructure is being built rapidly, a series of deadlines set by the chief minister for the project’s completion have been missed, starting with October 30.

Officials of the Lahore Transport Company (LTC) and the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa) said it was up to the chief minister to decide a new date for the project’s inauguration, but they estimated that it would be finished as early as February 10, or as late as the end of next month.

The MBS will run between Gajju Mata and Shahdara. The bus corridor and bus stations from Gajju Mata to Kalma Chowk are finished, but much work still remains on the bus stations for the elevated track.

The first bus station on the elevated track, starting at Muslim Town and heading towards Qurtaba Chowk, is being built by Saadullah Khan and Brothers (SKB). It is missing staircases and entrances. Currently, workers are fitting tiles and building the aluminum roof. The next station at Ichhra, also being built by SKB, is in a more advanced stage, with part of the staircase installed.

Site engineer Ghulam Mujtaba of the SKB said that the stations would be finished by February 10. He said that they were working round the clock at full speed. “The end of a construction project becomes painstaking … a lot of precision is required,” he said.

The next four stations along the elevated track are being built by ZKB Constructions and work on the staircases, floor tiles and roof is underway. Muhammad Omer, site engineer for one of the stations, said that they would be finished in February.

A joint venture of IKAN Engineering and Habib Construction is responsible for three bus stations on the elevated track. Two stations, at the Secretariat and the DCO’s office, are almost complete, while the third at Data Darbar required a great deal of work. Site engineer Muhammad Imran Chaudhry said that they would be finished in the first week of February. He said that escalators for the three stations would soon be installed and this would take no more than four or five days.

Stations between Data Darbar and Shahdara will require another 10-15 days of work, said Tepa officials. They said that there were 14 bus stations on the stretch between Gajju Mata and Kalma Chowk. All of them, except the station at Kalma Chowk, are to be fitted with four escalators each: one each on either side of the road to take bus users up to the pedestrian walkway, and one each from the bus stops, or inner corridor, going up to the walkway on either side. Twenty-two of the 26 escalators for the corridor have been fitted and are being tested. Escalators from the footpath at Naseerabad, Model Town and Ittefaq Hospital are currently being installed, with the rest yet to start. The station at Kalma Chowk will have entrances at ground level as two underpasses are being built there.

The Tepa officials estimated that the opening of the MBS could be delayed by 20 days and the inauguration would take place near the end of February.

Tepa Chief Engineer Muhammad Saeed Akhtar said that he was not aware of any new inauguration date given by the Punjab government. He was hopeful that the project would be completed in the opening days of February.

He said that the escalators for the bus stations were outdoor escalators “which will be able to take a beating”. He said that the total cost of the project was around Rs30 billion.

LTC Chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan said he did not know when the project would be inaugurated. “Any new deadline will be given by the chief minister himself,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • stevenson
    Jan 25, 2013 - 4:49AM

    One or two months is no big delay in the overall improvement plans for Lahore. It’s only a matter of time before the Metro Bus Service comes into operation and I am sure that it will transform Lahore’s urban landscape even more. The roads, underpasses and bridges have already improved the city considerably but most observers believe the mass transit system will be a model for other Pakistani cities dealing with grid lock. Lahore like many cities in Punjab have shown great improvement in the last few years.

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  • Pro Truth
    Jan 25, 2013 - 7:48AM

    This hurried project was once metro train green line project, we nearly spend the same money and getting a some fancy bus lanes instead of a real mass transit system based on light railway or underground metro. Something to learn from India about Delhi metro, that was started way after Lahore mass transit project, difference is they already have finished and have a working trains on tracks. We thought about trains and got buses!

    what urban landscape? we ruined much of our historic road and buildings on it. haste to finish before elections to create false show is the goal, how well buses can run we all know!

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  • rukun
    Jan 25, 2013 - 8:55AM

    20 out of 27 stations are on the elevated track?

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  • vaqas
    Jan 25, 2013 - 11:38AM

    Shame on us. Its been years, atleast a decade of them, when the kmtp was proposed worked on and approved. Yet no funds have been yet initiated for it. And here goes lahore with its whatever gone and done the necessary. And what of the plight of the poor of karachi?

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  • xyz
    Jan 25, 2013 - 11:39AM

    So this bus service will resolve energy crisis,Education emergency,south punjab poverty and many other problems in punjab.

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  • Pakistani
    Jan 25, 2013 - 12:02PM

    @xyz:

    Yeah, u vote for Mqm again and keep writing these type of comments. Ha ha ha

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  • Farhan
    Jan 25, 2013 - 12:04PM

    Good work Shahbaz Sharif. Pakistan needs an administrator like you.

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  • vaqas
    Jan 25, 2013 - 12:08PM

    @xyz:
    Dear xyz. I hope you are well in the head. Transport is for commute. Thank you. Humbly yours.

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  • adeel ahmed
    Jan 25, 2013 - 12:26PM

    Rapid Bus but the speed is only 30 km/hr as per official document. Why it name “Rapid”.

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  • confused
    Jan 25, 2013 - 12:41PM

    Kudos to Shahbaz Sharif and there is a learning for all other CMs including PMs, who have nothing but discredit to their credit for wasting 5 years of the nation. Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and after Musharraf there hasn’t been a single noteable project executed here. So much so that CDA hasn’t even been able to service the ailing infrastructure of the capital. Karachi after Mustafa Kamal has also come to a standstill. Other cities too are in dier states with no planning and execution at all.

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  • Chinmay
    Jan 25, 2013 - 12:51PM

    As an Indian I must say that Pakistani cities like Karachi, Islamabad and Faisalabad are MUCH BETTER PLANNED ON A GRID PLAN than most Indian cities like Mumbai and Chennai and Bangalore which are totally unplanned… of course Punjab and Sindh are basically desert areas geographically so Pakistani cities have more space to plan and expand… but the end result is very nice for Pakistan… Today all big Indian cities either have a metro or a metro is being constructed… but still Pakistani cities are probably easier to drive in… Pakistani people should be proud of this… I wish one day I could come and rent a car and drive in Islamabad… what a pleasure it would be… or on the Lahore Islamabad Motorway… Pakistani people should allow Indian people to visit.. We Indians are not all bad people as is believed…

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  • roger
    Jan 25, 2013 - 1:11PM

    @Chinmay: we have far more planned cities than pakistan……. if u r not informed than thats ur mistake……if u drive in an indian city or be it any city u cant drive fast…..u need not got to pakistan motorway to drive a car…….our highways are good enough……what will happen if someone plants a…….u know what i mean ?? :)

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  • Abdul
    Jan 25, 2013 - 1:18PM

    @Chinmay.
    You are more than welcome to our land. We lahorites are always hospitable.We wont let you down.

    Many Sikhs from your Punjab come to Pakistan every years. The number is in thousands. What we dun like from your side is an unjust hysteria created by your govt and media. Everything and I mean it EVERYTHING that happens is blamed on Pakistan. And unjust voices and rules never prevail.
    Come to Pakistan and see with your own eye whats it all abt.

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  • Naive
    Jan 25, 2013 - 1:19PM

    @Pakistani:
    MQM had much better project than this but didn’t have the budget of WHOLE PROVINCE to spend on the one city.
    The elevated expressway was proposed (with all feasibilty reports) by MQM in 2005/2006. The KCR project’s feasibility has been completed many times.

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  • Parvez
    Jan 25, 2013 - 2:10PM

    @xyz: The simple answer to your question is YES………….the more complex answer would be beyond you.

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  • Shaami
    Jan 25, 2013 - 2:22PM

    @Pro Truth: You are totally lying. The total cost of this project is around 30 Billion rupees that is a fraction of a cost of what Underground subway can take. I already read the reports and Subway costs were estimated to be around more than 2.5 Dollars while this project is going to be completed is less than 400 Million Us Dollars.

    @adeel ahmed: Pakistan is imitating the project of Bogota and the mayor of Bogota infact lend help to Punjab government as well in this case and in Bogota this is the same speed upon which buses used to travel on small distances. 30 Km/h is only meant for smaller distances and in future this speed will be increased gradually.

    Kindly see this Project known as Transmelano and these are the same lines upon which Lahore is implementing their rapid bus system.
    http://www.streetfilms.org/bus-rapid-transit-bogota/

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  • Patriotic
    Jan 25, 2013 - 2:56PM

    Pathetic planning..We have not set our priorities yet. What is our biggest problem as of today. Its the energy and education but we are spending money on useless showcase projects like MBS..if Gov was so sincere it should have built metro train system which would have met our needs for next few decades..

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  • Jan 25, 2013 - 3:08PM

    Punjab government made this service for common man? Now we should live in these bus stops and eat these new roads to live.

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  • farooq qamar
    Jan 25, 2013 - 3:12PM

    this useless project was only planned to sell Ittefaq Steel. SS and hamza have earned millions, as no tenders were ordered. this transit system will not benefit many. it would hav ebeen better to spend on health and education, and better buses, improving existing roads

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  • Moazzam Salim
    Jan 25, 2013 - 3:17PM

    Good enough for the MBS routes, elevated or not. But what about the roads along the Project? For example when can we see the Ferozepur Road open again?

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  • jugnoo
    Jan 25, 2013 - 3:21PM

    @Pro Truth: Agreed 100%. Its insane and waste of money to build buses lanes instead of trains.

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  • khan bhai
    Jan 25, 2013 - 3:32PM

    @Chinmay:

    but india has umpteen no of expresways, drive on them.
    if that doesnt satisfy you drive on the Formula 1 track for pleasure

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  • something true
    Jan 25, 2013 - 3:51PM

    pro truth: you are right.

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  • londonistani
    Jan 25, 2013 - 3:57PM

    @Chinmay:

    Punjab is not desert. Our Punjab is the most fertile ground on the planet.

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  • xyz
    Jan 25, 2013 - 4:02PM

    @Pakistani:
    @Parvez:
    @vaqas: I am not fool to vote for mqm and family mafia and corrupt nawaz and u should prioritize things.Bus is not priority.Education,Energy comes first which is also slogan of your fake leader.3E is PMLN slogan but they never act on it from last 25 years.

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  • blaizebob
    Jan 25, 2013 - 5:37PM

    Hope they’re not CNG buses, coz that would be an EPIC fail….. Otherwise, this is badly needed in Karachi too.

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  • Sirri Paey or Parathay
    Jan 25, 2013 - 5:39PM

    @Patriotic Mr Patriotic it is one of the most successful low cost urban transport system and we must appreciate it. For growth infrastructure is important and that is what Lahore is focusing on. Also for your kind information Already in UET Lahore students in the coming months will work to develop a feasibility study to transform these tracks into Rail track based systems based on CUT AND COVER tunnel technology in Ten years time. So kindly appreciate it and Lahore is the only city in the Pakistan right now where Government and its inhabitants both are serious for its uplift and are owning the city and that is why you can see progress there.
    I am sharing one picture with you that how the Lahore Bus Rapid System will be transformed into a Tunnel from the existing track in ten years time and the new road will be developed into a Green Belt and Cycling Path for Future Lahorites Bicycle riders while tunnel will act as a Subway.
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/27446464/Cut-and-Cover-Tunnel-ConstructionRecommend

  • Aamer Khawaja
    Jan 25, 2013 - 6:00PM

    @Naive:
    nope sorry you are misinformed, karachi had a huge budget in mk’s time, he was too busy wasting the money on signal free corridors instead of mass transit.

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  • Born Political
    Jan 25, 2013 - 6:08PM

    We have got short memories and lack of research attitude. 32% of development funds in past 4 years has been allocated to southern punjab, yet opponents need arguments and they will keep crying for Southern punjab. I ask both PML-N and anti PML-N voters to check out stats before making high claims.

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  • Born Political
    Jan 25, 2013 - 6:22PM

    We have got short memories and lack of research attitude. 32% of development funds in past 4 years has been allocated to southern punjab, yet opponents need arguments and they will keep crying for Southern punjab. I ask both PML-N and anti PML-N voters to check out stats before making high claims.Recommend

  • aj
    Jan 25, 2013 - 6:38PM

    @Chinmay..”of course Punjab and Sindh are basically desert areas geographically” sind is a desert..punjab isn’t all desert..lahore isn’t in a desert area..???

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  • Love Pkistan
    Jan 25, 2013 - 6:40PM

    @xyz: it is a transport project .. it is meant for reducing traffic problems not energy crisis…. by resolving traffic problems tension among people reduces hence increase in work efficiency.. dnt just hate… think positively..

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  • Rizwan
    Jan 25, 2013 - 9:00PM

    We need education not roads. Anyone can build roads even given resources.

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  • Grace
    Jan 26, 2013 - 12:12AM

    @xyz: Ask yourself why Punjab is the best managed and developing province in Pakistan – if you ask anyone about relative safety, progress and investment it is in Punjab. Not just Lahore but all of the cities in Punjab are improving and the credit must go to Shahbaz Sharif. Despite no support from the Federal government, Punjab is still improving. This is the real reason why MQM followers and others keep saying negative things about development in Punjab. Just try to improve all provinces and stop trying to say bad things about a transit system people in Punjab want.

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  • Dr Muneeb
    Jan 26, 2013 - 12:17AM

    @Londonistani..
    Agreed.. but It’s unfortunate to see housing societies being built on agricultural lands to spread cities like lahore and gujranwala..
    As far as this project was concerned, I guess it was too early for such an adventurism.. we have more problems like lack of schools, libraries and medical facilities that needed to be addressed earlier.

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  • Pro Truth
    Jan 26, 2013 - 7:44AM

    @Shaami I dont have to lie, you should also count the money already spent on all those feasibilty studies for metro system and its design by Japanese and Malaysian companies. So when you ditch that plan, that spent money gone to waste so that has to be included, not just the bus project.

    mass transit projects are planned for next 50 years not for next 5 years. plus all around the world bus lanes on existing roads with peak time limits are much more practical approach and way cheaper than this so called rapid bus.

    on the same note, if we keep developing Lahore and dont bring other cities in Punjab at par with Lahore, people will keep migrating to Lahore putting all pressure on infrastructure. We have do develop other cities and towns of Punjab more than Lahore.

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  • Bilal
    Jan 26, 2013 - 12:54PM

    @ProTruth if you knew anything about how Punjab you would know everything is first tested in Lahore then replicated into other cities in Punjab

    Infrastructure plays a big part in growth of any country, A good Infrastructure allows the follows of goods in an efficient way and it always grows the economy.

    The Train would have cost 10x more money and the Punjab government didn’t have the much, if the federal government had given them more, then they could have.

    @Shaami they are replicating Istanbul not Bogata, the mayor of Istanbul and SS have made a partnership and the mayor of Istanbul will send 100 buses as a gift

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  • khurram kaleem
    Jan 26, 2013 - 1:12PM

    The project is not only for transport ,it will create a culture and mind set of a nation walking together arms in arms

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  • LIAQAT ALI
    Jan 26, 2013 - 2:04PM

    @Pro Truth:
    Undergourd system for Delhi completed already and in less time.This must be totaaly false info. as it defies logic.The system for a mega city like ND must take at least 5 years And here we are talking about less than a year.Lets talk sense.Recommend

  • Shaami
    Jan 26, 2013 - 2:18PM

    @Bilal: And Istanbul is replicating Bogota. Columbia is the first country in the world to implement this system. I met the mayor of Bogota in Pakistan myself and then i am telling you. Kindly give the credit where the credit is due. Istanbul just copied their design and idea and since Istanbul is an Islamic country so we gave them the contract and gave them the whole credit since for us Non Muslims dont have any brains to implement anything.

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  • Jan 27, 2013 - 11:57AM

    we would have made Train Transit in this money. And how can one forget that the money which was previously spent on Ferozpur Road has been wasted when this project was started. All cm punjab has done for people is ( TRAFFIC!!! Destruction!!!!! ruined the City :S). i live on FZR Road and it takes me 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach my college which is just 10 min drive. and YES I used to Reach in 10 min !!!

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  • Shahid
    Feb 7, 2013 - 3:36AM

    Sharifs should be made traffic ministers. Whenever they come in power, their best projects are about tráffic. Be it motorway, Metro Lahore, Yellow texi, Yellow trector or the future plans of a bullet train, its all about traffic. Had it all been up to them, they would spend every penny of this nation on yellow cabs and transport projects. 30 billion spent on metro could have been enough for punjab to produce 2000 MW of electricity which could have done away with energy shortages in punjab. Anyhow, a fancy project, metro looks good and will help lahories.

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