Degraded service of Metro Bus troubling commuters


LAHORE: The Lahore Metro Bus service management remains reluctant to resolve numerous problems of its commuters which they face during travel, Pakistan Today has observed.

The service, which was started in early 2013, aimed to facilitate the citizens in modern ways but is now replete with issues.

The Punjab government completed this 27 kilometre long project from Gajumata to Shahdara with a cost of around 30 billion rupees.

Metro buses have at least 27 stations, where nine stations are elevated while the rest are on the ground. It was announced that each station would be equipped with generators and escalators but people continue to face problems due to the closure of escalators.

Reportedly, metro bus authority received a huge amount of Rs 2 billion in subsidy which also included the maintenance and repair of stations and track. Despite having such a huge subsidy, authorities seem reluctant to look after the matters regarding repair and maintenance.

The passengers who have to travel towards Gajumata face a major problem due to the dysfunctional of Muslim Town station. This situation has forced the commuters to get off at Gaddafi Stadium and then head on to Muslim Town. A daily commuter of Metro Bus, Nadeem, told Pakistan Today that due to the unavailability of Muslim Town station, he has to obtain a rickshaw from Gaddafi Stadium to get to Muslim Town which adds to his expenditures.

The unavailability of the station also forces those who need to use the Metro Bus to reach the Gaddafi Stadium or Kalma Chowk stations.

The track of this service also presents pathetic conditions at different spots. This condition can be witnessed near MAO College Station where the elevated track is highly uneven which reduces the speed of buses. Despite the passing of several months, authorities remain reluctant to repair the track.

Despite the cheap price of the ticket, most of the commuters have complaints during travel through the Metro Bus. During rush hours, passengers can be seen stuffed in buses like animals.

At the time of its inauguration, authorities claimed that citizens would be availing a modern facility through the buses; however, the present scenario is entirely different and far from desirable.

Punjab Masstransit Authority (PMA) Operations General Manager Syed Uzair Shah said that the Muslim Town Station was closed as the pavement here was getting damaged due to an asphalt road. Talking to Pakistan Today, he said that a concrete pavement would soon be constructed at Muslim Town and later all the stations would be converted to concrete pavements.

Talking about the poor conditions of elevated tracks, Uzair said that the authority had rewarded contract to TEPA for the repairing which gave 9 to 11 months for its completion. However, he said that the authority has asked TEPA to complete the repairing as early as possible.

Uzair informed that the authority is all set to pose penalty on the operating company Platform for not keeping the buses up to the mark. He said that the authority has decided to take strict action after receiving numerous complaints regarding the suffering of commuters due to poor air conditioning in the buses.