LAHORE: More than half a million of daily commuters along the route of the under construction Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) Project have been suffering due to the closure of Lahore Transport Company’s bus routes, Pakistan Today has observed.
The suffering of people started since the project was executed, as most of the bus operators had to halt their operations along this 27km-long ongoing project from Ali Town Raiwind Road to Dera Gujjran. As the project covers most of the busy roads, its routes have been dug up for the purpose of construction. These routes connect through Raiwind Road, Multan Road, Wahdat Road, Yateem Khana, Chauburji, Lahore High Court, Mall Road, McLeod Road, across the city centre via Lakshmi Chowk, Railways Station, before heading the Dera Gujran along the GT Road.
Since the project was started, the city has come to a halt in various places and the businesses of thousands of people are already making losses that run into billions of rupees. Roads, streets and sewerage lines along the route have been broken while it has become a big nuisance for the daily commuters, motorists and pedestrians.
According to estimates, more than half a million of commuters travel through different means on the roads located at the under construction OLMT route where LTC buses were accommodating more than 200,000 commuters daily. These LTC buses were, B-2: on Circular Road via Lahore General Bus Stand (Badami Bagh), Azadi Chowk, Taksali Gate, Bhati Gate, Old Anarkali Road via Old Anarkali, Jain Mandir, Chauburj, Samanabad, Bhala Chowk, Yateem Khana Chowk (Band Road), Grand Battery, Scheme Mor, Fawara Chowk, Bhijli Ghar, Kharrak Nallah, Multan Chungi (Wahadat Road), Hanjarwal and Thokar Niaz Baig. The LTC bus route B-4 was accommodating commuters at Lahore General Bus Stand (Badami Bagh), Kashmiri Gate, Aik Moria, Lahore Junction Station, Boharwala Chowk on Allama Iqbal Road via Javed Manzil, Garhi Shahu UET, Begampura, Singhpura, Baghbanpura, Shalimar Chowk (Shalimar Gardens), Pakistan Mint, Daroghawala, Salamatpura, Quaid-e-Azam Interchange (Lahore Ring Road), Manawan, Batapur, Jallo Morr, Dial Pind and Wahga.
Another busy route B-36 has been closed which was facilitating thousands of daily commuters of Daroghewala, Chungi, Warrah, Herbanspura, Haji Pura, Taj Bagh, Taj Pura, Jorray Pull, Rangers Head Quarters, Airport, Defence, Bhatta Chowk, Ghazi Road, General Hospital, Chungi Amar Sidhu and many other areas located on the route.
Sheraz, a resident of Thokar Niaz Baig, while talking to this scribe, said that due to closure of B-2 he had to travel through wagons or chingchi rikshaws as he cannot afford to travel through taxi to reach his place of work. “These wagons and rikshaws were operating without any mechanism and most of the time they don’t complete their routes and forced the passengers to get down,” he said, adding that the broken roads made him tired when he reached his office, while he was facing breathing problems due to a high level of dust on the route.
Qadir, a motorist, said that it took more than 30 minutes to reach Shimla Pahari from UET which was just at a 10 minutes distance. “It is very hard to move on these roads during the rainy season when all the roads become muddy,” he added.
After the closure of these routes, LTC permitted Light Occupancy Vehicles (LOVs) on Multan Road. According to an LTC spokesman, different LOVs are currently operating from Thokar Niaz Baig to Railways Station to accommodate commuters per day. He said that two routes had been stopped by LTC due to construction work because operators were not willing to operate their buses on broken roads fearing damages to their buses.
Punjab Masstransit Authority (PMA) Operations General Manager Syed Uzair Shah said that no orders had been issued for the closures of the routes. Talking to Pakistan Today, he said that after the completion of OLMT, he will definitely order to close all the public transport. He said that the buses of feeder routes will accommodate the commuters on these routes.