Urban transport project to commence operations almost three years after its construction started
Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Peshawar tomorrow (Thursday) to inaugurate the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf provincial government’s flagship Bus Rapid Transit project.
Talking to senior journalists about the project, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said it would provide state-of-the-art facilities for people at affordable rates to reduce transportation concerns. He also admitted that the government had “made a mistake” by claiming that the project would be completed in six months unlike the three years it ended up taking.
The BRT project consists of a 27.5km main track covering 31 stations, while its feeder routes cover 62 kilometers of roads and have 146 stops spread throughout Peshawar.
Constructed against a cost of Rs. 70 billion, the project was initially projected to cost Rs. 49.43 billion. This value was further revised upwards to Rs. 66.43 billion before reaching the final cost of Rs. 70 billion. The Asian Development Bank and Agence Française de Développement loaned $593 million for the project, while the provincial government provided the remainder.
Peshawar Development Authority Director General Zafar Ali Shah has claimed the project’s cost increased because its scope was expanded. He told journalists that some commercial plazas linked to the BRT had yet to be completed, but maintained all parking plazas had been completed and the project itself required no more work.
The project will comprise 220 buses, with a private company contracted to operate its routes. The government has installed 750 CCTV cameras to monitor all routes and stations, and officials have claimed around 300,000 passengers would be able to utilize it daily.
Then-chief minister Pervaiz Khattak inaugurated the BRT project in October 2017. At the time, he claimed that the project would be completed within six months—ahead of general elections. The project has completed after almost three years.