LAHORE: The closure of several Lahore Transport Company (LTC) bus routes owing to the ongoing construction works of the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project has left thousands of commuters suffering, Pakistan Today has observed.
According to estimates, more than half a million commuters use the roads adjacent to the under-construction OLMT route, out of which, LTC buses had been accommodating more than 200,000 on a daily basis.
The authorities have closed at least seven different routes of public transport alongside the OLMT project, including Light Occupancy Vehicles’s (LOVs) routes 102, 103, 104, 105, 107, LTC B2 and B4. However, some of LOV routes have been operating on Multan Road after acquiring a stay order from the Lahore High Court (LHC).
Another busy route B-36 has also been closed, which was facilitating thousands of daily commuters of Daroghewala, Chungi, Warrah, Harbanspura, Haji Pura, Taj Bagh, Taj Pura, Jorray Pull, Rangers Head Quarters, Airport, Defence, Bhatta Chowk, Ghazi Road, General Hospital, Chungi Amar Sidhu and several other areas located on the route.
A resident of Multan Chungi, Shahid Ali, who struggles to reach his destination on a daily basis due to the closure of B2 route, told this scribe that he had to travel through private vans or motorbike rickshaws as he could not afford a personal vehicle.
“These vans and rickshaws operate without any mechanism and most of the time force their passengers to get off midway,” he said, demanding from the government to allow LTC buses to operate on the route as soon as the project was completed.
LTC spokesperson Nasir, while talking to Pakistan Today, confirmed that after the completion of the project, various LTC routes along the OLMT would permanently be closed. He said that several routes had been closed to launch feeder buses instead.
“The strategy has been established in a way that no commuter suffers due to the closure of these routes,” he said and added that the reason of closing routes, unlike speculations, was not meant to make OLMT successful but to provide a safe and cheap transport facility to the commuters.
To a question, Nasir confirmed that different vans operating on Multan Road had obtained a stay order from LHC.