Islamabad - Early in the morning, dozens of people occupy the lawns of excise and taxation office within shouting distance of the 9th Avenue Bus Stop of Metro Bus Service. They do not benefit from the luxurious multibillion public transport services but instead wait for their turns to register new cars.
Each day, hundreds of people could be seen taking refuge under the shadows of the nearby trees along the route of Metro Bus Service. They either register their new cars or seeking transfer of the used cars they have just purchased.
And despite that around 66 high occupancy buses ply in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad from dawn to dusk, figures obtained from excise and taxation office of Islamabad reveal that the number of private car registration is witnessing upward trend.
Sharif Gul, an inspector in the government office says that 250 to 300 new cars are registered in Islamabad Capital Territory on daily basis. Similarly, 400 to 450 cases of transfer of ownership of private vehicles take place daily in Islamabad.
Going by documents, more than 75,000 new cars were registered previous year in the federal capital. From January 1, 2016 to April 5 this year, as many as 28,000 new cars have been registered in Islamabad.
According to Gul, his guess that demand for new registrations in the federal capital would drastically decrease, went untrue as the number of new cars register increase with the passage of each day.
Prime Minsiter Nawaz Sharif inaugurated Metro Bus Service on June 4 last year at a cost of around Rs50 billion amid criticism from opposition parties that criticised the project for being costly and ineffective.
The purpose behind launching the bus service was to reduce vehicular congestion in the twin cities and provide a luxury public transport for the thousands of people who commute daily between Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
The bus service has specific routes to ply on providing transportation facilities to the commuters living along or near the specified bus stations; thus those living away from the vicinities of Murree Road and 9th Avenue, have rarely used the multibillion bus project.
Noor Jamal, a cab driver was waiting for his turn in a long queue outside the office of the registration authority seeking ownership of a taxi he had purchased a few days back. “This cab earns me money daily as commuters are abundant in Islamabad. Majority of passengers have one destination in common — Metro bus stop,” he said.
Similarly, the number of bikes too has witnessed an upward trend. The documents reveal that 86,000 motorbikes were registered in 2015 as compared to 56,000 bikes registered in 2014.
There were some visitors who said they have never used the new public transport in the federal capital as they preferred to ride their private cars. “Metro bus is good service but not better than a personal car,” Shahabuddin, who had showed up at the office for registering his new luxury car said.
Officials in excise and taxation office are of the view that the slump in oil prices has further encouraged people to buy private cars adding that during summer, the demand for cars also register increase.