ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is going to formally inaugurate Metro Bus Service from H-9 to New Islamabad International Airport today.

The project was stalled for the last four years but soon after assuming the charge of his office last week, Shehbaz Sharif ordered to start the project in five days. After getting strict orders from the premier, all the concerned departments i.e. NHA, CDA, MCI and ICT administration came into action   and   managed to start the test run of bus service.

It is pertinent to mention here that the project was basically delayed because the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stopped funding to the National Highway Authority, which was the executing agency of this project. Later the project was handed over to CDA to arrange the buses for said metro track and run its operations as stopgap arrangement as the previous government decided that the Capital Mass Transit Authority would run this project on permanent basis.

CDA has procured 30 buses for this track from China and same were expected to reach in Pakistan till mid of next month.

However, after getting directions from the Prime Minister, the city managers not only arranged buses from Punjab Mass Transit Authority but also done a lot of finishing work on the track in a very short span of time. According to the details, the project will have 30 modern buses which will ply after every 5 minutes during   peak hours, while 8 to 10 minutes during rest of the day.

It is estimated that around 25000 passengers will commute daily on this route. On the direction of prime minster, no fare will be charged during the holy month of Ramazan.

It is pertinent to mention here that depot, track, and  bus stations  are being completed by NHA whilst buses have been arranged by the CDA.

The Islamabad Metro Bus project was approved in January 2017 to link the new Islamabad International Airport (NIIA) to the capital. Originally, the project was to be completed in August 2017 but was further extended to December 2017 and August 2018 while its last deadline was December 2018.

It is worth noting here that an amount of Rs12.22 billion was spent on said project in the financial year 2017-18, while remaining Rs 4.22 billion was allocated in the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) of 2018-19. The project includes the construction of a dedicated, two-lane; signal-free corridor — 9.60 – 10.40 meter wide sections on the ground and in trenches and 22.50 – 23.70 meter at stations.

Moreover, a three-lane carriageway with shoulders on either side of the metro corridor from   Golra Morr Interchange to the Grand Trunk (GT) Road Interchange are also its part to ensure the free flow of traffic and turnings along with the construction of flyovers and underpasses on existing roads.