Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the long-awaited Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project today. The “next-level service” has been launched in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan, to serve its 4.2 million residents.
“A modern transport system is the first phase in development,” Khan said at the launch ceremony. “The BRT will provide massive relief to the common people who can now avail quality service at affordable charges” while helping reduce the traffic and pollution in the city.
The premier congratulated KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and his team on successful completion of the new transit system - a flagship project of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that has experienced several delays and was also marred by controversy.
New era of transportation
The BRT service, built at a cost of Rs70 billion, will offer an improved bus service to roughly 340,000 passengers every day. “It is the only third generation mass transit system in Pakistan” offering a new era of transportation system to the residents of Peshawar, said CM Mahmood Khan.
Key features of Peshawar BRT
1. Project comprises of 220 Zu Peshawar buses
2. Nearly 360 rent-out bicycles
3. It consists of a 27.5 kilometre-long corridor track with 31 stations and seven feeder routes
4. The track includes 146 stops
5. Service to facilitate 340,000 passengers every day
6. The diesel-electric hybrid buses with rechargeable batteries makes the project environment-friendly
7. At least 750 CCTV cameras installed to monitor all routes and stations
8. The project has been built at a cost of Rs70 billion
Cost and duration
The project was initially projected to cost Rs49 billion when announced in October 2017 by the former chief minister, Pervez Khattak, who vowed to complete it within six months. The transit system has finally been completed after almost three years at a cost of Rs70 billion which was increased due to an escalation in work scope, according to Peshawar Development Authority Director General Zafar Ali Shah. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is the major financier of the project that loaned $593 million together with Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The commercial plazas are expected to generate millions of rupees for Trans Peshawar, the officials said. TransPeshawar, a government owned company, is responsible for the Peshawar BRT service.
The fast, safe, reliable and comfortable urban transport service on the city’s busiest routes would offer most affordable transport system especially for those on their way to work and schools. The city’s first bus rapid transit corridor with 31 stations also includes facilities such as free wifi, rent-out bicycles, safety features for women and children and accessibility for disabled and elderly.
Travel and ticket
Travellers can simply use reloadable cards and those who have installed the mobile app can also scan the QR code placed on the bus. The app includes detailed map and charges to help people plan their journey. The minimum bus fare for is Rs15 (for 5.1 - 10 km) while the maximum fare is Rs50 (for 40km or more).
Take the bus or bike
The Peshawar BRT system includes 360 bicycles to be hired for fast and smart mobility offering commuters a healthy option of travelling. “Anyone interested in using the facility will have the option to use either the bus or a bicycle” says General Manager Operations for TransPeshawar Muhammad Imran Khan. The bikes can be used by simply swiping the BRT card to unlock the bicycle, which can be parked at any station along the corridor, according to the TransPeshawar spokesperson.
Why is it called Zu Peshawar?
The Peshawar BRT system is branded as “Zu Peshawar” – a Pushto word meaning “Lets go Peshawar”.
BRT service in numbers
• 220 air-conditioned and hybrid buses
• 360 bicycles at 32 stations
• Service available from 6am to 10pm
• Ticket ranges from Rs10 to Rs50
• To serve 21,000 people every hour one-way
• 31 stations
• Cover 27 kilometres distance
• Create 4,000 jobs