30 buses from China due in Jan for 13 new routes in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is all set to start construction of a bus depot at Zero Point as 30 of the total 160 electric buses will arrive from China in January for launching a bus service in the city.

CDA Chairman Anwarul Haq on Friday chaired a meeting to get an update on the import of the buses. He was told that in January 30 buses will reach in Islamabad followed by the arrival of two other fleets in February and March.

Sources said the chairman directed the concerned wing to expedite the process and ensure timely arrival of all the buses. The CDA will operate the 160 buses on 13 routes in the capital.

The main dept will be constructed at Zero Point along Srinagar Highway towards H-8 side. The planning wing of the CDA has already earmarked a piece of land for the depot.

The sources said the CDA board in October had decided that the depot would be constructed under 42(f) of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, allowing only government-run construction firms to participate in the bidding process for “its speedy and timely completion.”

They said in future three more depots will be constructed, but the first one was being set up on priority. Once started, the construction work on the depot will be completed in six months.

The sources said the CDA had invited applications from the government-run construction firms.

It is relevant to note here that majority of contracts for the CDA projects have been won by Frontier Work Organisation (FWO) and National Logistics Cell (NLC).

The buses would be operated on 13 routes by the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) – the contractor of the CDA which has placed orders for the 160 buses with an international firm that is manufacturing them in China.

As per the agreement, the CDA will pay the NRTC about Rs306 to Rs331 per kilometre to operate the buses.

The 13 routes include Police Foundation/Orange Line Station to Red Line Faiz Ahmed Faiz Station in I-8; Allama Iqbal Station to Red Line Potohar Station; Pims to Secretariat; D-12 to G-10; F-11 to Red Line F-8 Station; G-11 to Pims; Aabpara to Tramri Chowk; Nilor to Khanna Pul; Pirwadhai Chowk to Faizabad; B-17 to 26 Number Chungi, and I-16 to 26 Number.

Earlier, the CDA had intended to procure the buses from its own funding, however, in February this year, the civic agency decided to hire the services of a contractor and NRTC won the contract. Former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif last year had directed the CDA to launch new bus services on 13 routes. During his tenure, he constantly pushed the CDA to start the service.

He had also inaugurated three metro bus services: Orange Line, Green Line and Blue Line. The buses plying on the three routes belong to the CDA and they are providing great relief to thousands of passengers daily.

CDA officials said when the buses will start plying on the 13 new routes, there will be an adequate travelling facility available for the residents of Islamabad as almost all areas of the city will be connected with each other.

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