While the multi-billion Metro Bus Project is far from completion with work chugging along at extremely slow pace at several points, project managers are thinking of kicking off the service with a formal launch on May 9 by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
A source in the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA), the main overseer and executioner of the project, told that all arrangements have been completed to formally inaugurate the bus service by May 9, 2015, as the service has already faced a delay of more than three months.
While the authorities claim to have almost finished work on a major section of the route, much work remains to be done with almost 50 per cent work on the Peshawar Mor Interchange yet to be completed. The contractor of the Peshawar Mor section has almost abandoned work after only erecting pillars to make way for traffic.
Similarly, work on a large section of the route between Jinnah Avenue and Secretariat is yet to be completed.
The source claimed that almost 24 stations between Islamabad and Rawalpindi will be made operational before the inauguration and trials of buses have already been conducted.
During a survey of different sections of the metro bus route, it was observed that piles of dug-up soil and mud have been strewn along the bus route. Heaps of dug-up soil could be seen dumped in front of Centaurus Mall, along Ibn-e-Sina Avenue and Peshawar Mor, and neither the RDA nor the Capital Development Authority (CDA) seem to have put in place a plan to relocate the dumped dirt.
The source claimed that work on parking plazas, operational and control rooms in Rawalpindi section of the bus route has almost reached the final stages and will soon be completed.
Another official of the RDA said that Rs 20 will be charged per passenger on a single travel and travellers will be accommodated on available seats and no travel while hanging will be allowed.
He said that any location of the Rawalpindi section of the project could be selected for the inauguration, which will also be witnessed by a large number of citizens, ministers and foreign dignitaries.