The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is preparing a ten-year public transport plan for Islamabad having a Rapid Bus Transit System, as its essential part, but it would take more time to implement it for the general public than being anticipated by the civic body due to many problems.
The existing road network except for Jinnah Avenue and Kashmir Highway, which is under expansion, would not be sufficient for the RBT System, as the civic body would have to create an additional and dedicated lane to cope with the RBT System on many roads. The plan is being prepared with the technical support of the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is financing feasibility of the plan.The CDA consultants are likely to submit their interim report of study, which was started in May on Public Transport Plan and RBT System for Islamabad by the end of this month, while the final report would be ready in September.
The participants of the workshop, which was organised on Thursday for stakeholders of Islamabad Transport Plan and RBT System, were informed that the consultants have proposed four interim routes to launch the RBT System, and proposed four routes to ply buses. However it would be decided later as to whether the RBT System should be public-private joint venture.
The participants also pointed out that the four proposed routes are directed to benefit more the elite class than the common man. “The routes should also be extended to G and I sectors,” they said.
Some participants of the workshop questioned as to who was going to own the RBT System as neither the CDA chairman nor any official from the Ministry of Communication and Islamabad administration were present at the workshop. “This shows lack of interest on part of concerned departments to execute the project,” they said.
The participants were of the view that current operators of transport in Islamabad should also be consulted and taken on board while giving final shape to the RBT System.
They also said that the RBT System would also not be useful unless Rawalpindi, Wah Cantonment, Rawat and other adjoining cities are linked with Islamabad through the RBT System.