Rs2.8b subsidy for Bus Rapid Transit
KP government spokesman Kamran Khan Bangash has claimed that in efficiency and performance, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) of Peshawar is cheaper and better than the other identical services in the country. He compared the BRT with similar services operating in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan. He said that in the current financial year, BRT will get a Rs2.8 billion subsidy.
He said that in terms of annual subsidy, the Orange Train in Lahore got Rs8 billion, Lahore Metro Rs4.1b, Rawalpindi Metro Rs3.6b and the Multan Metro also Rs3.6 billion. Kamran Bangash said that the bus services in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan served from 40,000 to 110,000 passengers per day. On the other hand, BRT served 160,000 passengers daily.
Bangash said that initially, the KP government had planned to earn the maximum income from the BRT by charging Rs50 from every passenger. However, later the government decided to serve the working class in the difficult time of the Covid-19 pandemic. It reduced the per-passenger bus fare to Rs10.
Kamran Bangash quoted a recent site survey of the BRT system by the Asian Development Bank. In this survey, some female passengers comprising a few working women and college girls expressed satisfaction over the system. They said that before the BRT was launched, they used to pay 300 to 400 rupees to taxicabs. Now they had to pay 15 to 20 rupees.
Although many ups and downs came in the way of the BRT’s operation. At one stage, the Peshawar High Court took BRT executives to the task. The KP government obtained a stay order from the Supreme Court. However, the government spokesman has smartly papered over the shortcomings and put BRT ahead of other bus services.