PESHAWAR: All arrangements have been finalised to inaugurate the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, the flagship project of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, on Thursday.
Terming the BRT project a gift from the PTI government for the people of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan announced at a news conference on Tuesday that Prime Minister Imran Khan would formally inaugurate the project on August 13.
The inaugural ceremony is likely to be attended by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, KP Governor Shah Farman, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, federal and provincial ministers, advisers and special assistants, and other senior government officials.
The BRT built at the cost around Rs70 billion, will bring revolution in the provincial capital’s transport sector as approximately 340,000 common people, including labourers, daily-wagers, students and employees will enjoy a safe, comfortable and affordable travel in luxury buses on daily basis.
Each passenger will have to pay only Rs50 for a 45-minute journey between Hayatabad and Chamkani against Rs70 charged by private wagons and Mazda buses, which cover the distance in about three hours. No fare will be charged for small children.
According to Trans Peshawar Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fayyaz Khan, about 220 buses had already arrived in the city and were ready for formal operation.
The BRT consists of a 27.5-kilometer-long main corridor track with 31 stations, besides seven feeder routes of total 62 kilometers with 146 stops to facilitate hundreds of thousands of passengers every day.
The main track is connected with seven different areas of the Peshawar city. Small buses running on the feeder routes will carry the residents of these areas to the main BRT corridor.
Intially 92 buses of 18 meters length will run on the main corridor and 128 small buses on seven feeder routes. The buses will start their operation at 6 am and continue plying till 10 pm without any break.
A central room has been set up from where the entire operation of routes and buses will be monitored through 750 cameras.
More than 100,000 special BRT ‘Zu cards’ have already been sold. A great crowd was witnessed at the BRT stations on Tuesday to purchase the cards following the CM’s announcement of its inauguration that sparked widespread jubilation the among residents of Peshawar and adjoining areas.
The BRT route starts from Chamkani near Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway, passes through major city areas, markets and bazaars, including General Buss Stand, Gulbahar, Hashtnagri, Firdus, Lady Reading Hospital, Balahisar Fort, Khyber Bazar, Qisakhwani Bazar, Namak Mandai, Dabgari Garden, Cantonment, Tehkal, Jehangirabad, Abdara, University of Peshawar, Khyber Teaching Hospital, Islamia College, Board Bazar, Hayatabad Medical Complex and ends at Hayatabad.
The people while travelling in wagons and Mazda buses have to spend about three hours to reach Hayatabad from Chamkani. The BRT will cut the travel time by around two and a half hours, besides a signal free comfortable journey.
The BRT will also save the precious time of students of University of Peshawar, Agriculture University, Islamia College, Pakistan Forest Institute, and University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, besides many public and private schools, colleges and universities in different areas of the walled city.
Major beneficiaries of the BRT will be hundreds of thousands of government employees, who regularly travel to the Civil Secretariat Peshawar from Charsadda, Nowshera, Kohat, Mardan, Swabi, Khyber, Mohmand and other districts.
Patients coming from far flung districts to Peshawar for treatment, will also take advantage of the BRT as it links the city’s bus terminal with major hospitals, including Children Hospital at Haji Camp, Molvi G Children and Gyne Hospital Hashtnagri, Lady Reading Hospital, Dabgari Garden, Cantonment Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital University Road and Hayatabad Medical Complex.
The Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) has already handed over the route and stations to the Transport Department Peshawar, which has completed installation of Intelligence Ticking System (ITS). The bus parking areas have also been completed.
The residents of Peshawar have eagerly awaiting inauguration of the BRT as it will help address the problem of traffic jams on Firdus, Hashtnagri, Khyber Bazar and Dabgari Garden, especially during morning and evening hours.