ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to operationalise the Islamabad Metro Bus Service from April 16 and ordered an inquiry into the delay in the launch of the project which has been pending for the last four years.
The premier visited the Peshawar More metro bus station and reviewed the on-ground progress of the project.
Islamabad Metro Bus Service was launched by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2017 and was due to become functional in 2018.
PM Shehbaz directed to run the metro bus service from Peshawar More to Islamabad International Airport to facilitate passengers travelling towards the airport.
He also ordered a feasibility study as per the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules for two additional routes, namely from Rawat and Bhara Kahu connecting passengers to the airport.
He further directed them to establish a metro bus station at the motorway for better connectivity and to enhance the benefit of the service to the maximum number of people.
The premier expressed dismay over the delay in the materialisation of the project, terming it “severe negligence” as Rs16 billion had been spent on the mega project.
He claimed it was unfair towards the general public whose tax money had been consumed, but that the facility in turn was being denied to them.
Shehbaz directed the officials concerned to make terms of reference for an inquiry to assess the reasons for the delay that led to the loss of national wealth.
The prime minister suggested ensuring the installation of racks in the buses to accommodate the luggage of passengers en route to the airport.
He stated that the service should run free of cost for the trial period until the installation of ticketing machines.
PM Shehbaz, after assuming office on April 11, had ordered to make the Islamabad metro bus service operational within five days.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Hanif Abbasi and Anjum Aqeel accompanied the premier during the visit.
Officials from the National Highway Authority and CDA briefed PM Shehbaz about the project.
It was highlighted that initially, 30 buses would operate on the 24-kilometre-long track from Peshawar More to Islamabad International Airport. Fifteen buses would be taken from Punjab Mass Transit Authority, Rawalpindi till the new fleet was added to the Islamabad metro service.
The Prime Minister was informed that the CDA was temporarily operating on behalf of the government, while a separate Metro Bus Authority was required to be formulated.
Buses would be covered in orange skin for route coding. The NHA to N5 station will take six-eight minutes and from N5 to the airport around 25-30 minutes. The shuttle service will be run on a stretch of 11 kilometres.
PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb in a tweet stated that PM Shehbaz had given directives to the metro bus service to run free of cost during the month of Ramadan.
She further said that the previous rulers were making the excuse of “foreign conspiracy” to cover up their incompetence and corruption.