GOVT INDUCTS CNG BUSES IN LAHORE

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Dec 5 - 11, 20
11

With a mission to plan and facilitate a high quality, safe, efficient, environment friendly and affordable urban transport in Lahore City, Lahore transport company (LTC) was established under the provisions of Provincial Motor Vehicles Ordinance (Amendment) Act 2009.

Government of Punjab notified the company vide. No. SO (NTS) 2-88/2009 dated 1st Dec., 2009 is endeavoring to provide efficient and modern transport facilities to people.

LTC has been registered under section 42 of Companies Ordinance 1984. LTC is primarily a regulation body, which has been tasked to ensure a smooth running transport system in Lahore, which will provide the commuters a safe, efficient and affordable transport service. LTC is expected to be a self-sustaining organ of the government of Punjab.

As per the provisions of the said ordinance, LTC is now the sole organ responsible for custody of all transport infrastructures in Lahore and its operations through a network of private operators.

This infrastructure includes bus stops, bus shelters, bus bays, bus depots, and bus terminals. The operational aspect includes service routes and the buses provided by and operated through a network of private operators.

LTC is managing the passenger services through a variety of transport vehicles covering high occupancy vehicles (HOV) such as buses and low occupancy vehicles (LOV) such as vans, coasters, hi-ace, as well as certain approved rickshaw models.

The LTC is governed through a board of directors headed by chairman Khawaja Ahmed Hassaan, political advisor to chief minister Punjab.

LTC is a lean organization headed by CEO Jai Ik Kim, who has a wide experience and a long list of achievements in urban transport planning field in Pakistan and abroad.

Mr. Kim was the success behind launch of Daewoo intercity bus service in Pakistan. He has ensured that quality of human resource takes precedence over the quantity.

Under the banner of LTC, the Foton Bus Company (FBC) has launched its operations in Lahore, introducing a fleet of 56 new imported CNG buses on three routes. FBC is the biggest producer of commercial vehicles in China.

Apart from the FBC, the Punjab government also signed an agreement with a local company for the provision of 200 quality buses. A Chinese company's investment in the transport sector in the province showed how much China trusted the Punjab government.

According to chairman LTC, the commuters are "feeling the difference" in terms of comfort when they ride the new Foton buses.

He said they were negotiating with the federal government for a gas deal so that the buses could run on the weekly CNG holidays. He said that there was no need to clamp down on alternative means of transport like unlicensed rickshaws and vans on the FBC's routes, as people would immediately stop using them. "We strongly believe that citizens want to travel in affordable and quality buses. These other forms of transport became popular because they were cheap and the buses were always overcrowded and in poor condition," he said.

Foton will run buses on route B-9, which starts at the City Railway Station and ends at Kahna via Lakshmi Chowk, Hall Road, Ganga Ram Hospital, Mozang, Ichhra, the Canal, Kalma Chowk, Model Town and Chungi Amar Sadhu; on B-20-B, which starts at Green Town and goes to Bagrian Chowk, Akbar Chowk, New Campus, Yateem Khana Chowk, Chauburji, Data Darbar, Azadi Chowk and end at Niazi Chowk; and on route B-33-B that begins at Hamdard Chowk and goes to Barkat Chowk, Akbar Chowk, Jinnah Hospital, Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Wahdat Road, Muslim Town, Shadman, Lawrence Road, Egerton Road and the City Railway Station

With this service launched in Lahore, Punjab government has launched an affordable and comfortable air-conditioned CNG bus service in the provincial metropolis.

The provincial government has planned to expand this model of public transport for the masses in Multan, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Dera Ghazi Khan, and other big cities.

According to Punjab chief minister, the PML-N honored its promise of providing cheap and comfortable bus service to the masses. All the senior citizens above the age of 65 years would have free traveling facility in the buses.

He said a well-organized public transport system was introduced by the PML-N government in 1998 for the first time in the country, and an agreement was signed with a private bus service but when the first batch of 50 buses arrived, the army toppled the democratically elected government. He said an excellent public transport system has been launched for the people of the province again after 12 years.

The chief minister traveled as an ordinary commuter without any security or protocol in the newly launched urban transport bus in the provincial metropolis.

The other passengers of the bus were pleasantly surprised to see Shahbaz Sharif and the bus resounded with the slogans of chief minister Punjab Zindabad. Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan also accompanied him.

The chief minister paid for the bus ticket and inquired from the fellow passengers about the new transport service.

Expressing his views, a laborer Muhammad Yasin said that people of Lahore are thankful to the chief minister for providing an affordable and comfortable bus service to Lahorites. The passengers requested to increase the number of buses.

The chief minister also went to the cabin of ladies, and informed them that a separate bus service would soon be launched for them.

A student of Government Gulberg College Muhammad Siam said it is a wrong impression that students want to travel in the new buses free of charge but on the contrary they are grateful to Punjab government for this facility and will continue to extend their cooperation.

The Punjab government has taken solid measures for the provision of modern transport facilities to the people and this project has been started from Lahore. He said that besides provision of more buses in the provincial metropolis, the network of modern transport would be extended to the whole province.

After the launch of CNG buses in Lahore, it is expected that people of other cities in Punjab would also get such buses to have comforting and affordable travelling experiences.