Govt urged to start shuttle service for new airport


RAWALPINDI: The citizens have urged the authorities concerned to start a bus service for the Islamabad International Airport to facilitate the passengers.

A project to facilitate the passengers from Rawalpindi to the new airport, 35 kilometres distance in air-conditioned buses, was delayed owing to a disagreement between the administration and the transporters. The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) had planned to start a bus service to the airport, operating from two locations in the city including Rawat and Koral Chowk.

One route was announced from Rawat which passing through Kutcheri Chowk, Saddar, Peshawar Road, Chorr Chowk, Pirwadhai Morr, Golra Morr, Chungi 26 and the Motorway Chowk before heading to the new airport. The other route was from Koral Chowk to the Benazir Bhutto Airport, then to the Ammar Chowk, Kutcheri Chowk, Saddar, Peshawar Road and at the new airport.

The company had proposed Rs 30 fare from one station to other with monthly cards at a cost of Rs 2500 for the regular commuters. In the first phase, 20 buses were supposed to operate between the new and the old airports while picking up passengers from 10 pre-designated stops between Rawat and the new airport.

The fare on the buses was set at Rs 200 from the old airport to the new airport. The fare for the passengers climb on from Rawat was Rs70 to reach to the old airport. Passengers travelling from Rawat to the new airport were to be charged Rs 270 as fare. A bus was supposed to depart from its station after every 15 minutes.

Given the shortage of time and resources, the authority had initially planned to operate the service by engaging a private transport company. However, with the service having predefined stops which did not conform to the behaviour patterns of locals, it irked the transporters who demanded more stops near Rawat and the airport so that they could fill up more passengers and increase returns on each trip.

The situation worsened when the RTA failed to build a proper stop for the buses in Rawat after the administration allegedly refused to allocate land for the purpose. RTA Secretary Khalid Yameen Satti had previously said that they would set up proper bus stations and stands at every five-kilometer along the route of the bus to facilitate commuters.