ATHER ALI KHAN  - The project includes the construction of an 8.6km overhead bridge, the biggest in length in the whole Asia, to ensure the easy an fast flow of traffic on the already existing ground roads in the region. Pre-cost Tranzums i.e., pre-fabricated parts of the bridge are utilized for the first time in Pakistan. 48 such units are raised from Tamasil Centre on Ferozepur Road to Nohar Wala Chowk, Lytton Road. Each unit weigh 90tonne and is 9.8m long, 2.7m wide and 2.2m high which are placed on the upper edges of the 5m high pillars prepared for the bridge. The girders and the slabs are placed over to complete the bridge completion, without any shuttering material. These pre-cost units are fabricated in a Nespak-approved factory on Multan Road. From where these are shifted to the site and placed accordingly, with help of heavy lifters.
About 115 long buses, having three times more capacity than the normal bus does have, will be running on the MBS corridors shortly, out of which 45 buses have already reached Lahore, after these landed in Karachi from China. These Volvo China buses will cost Rs1.26 billion (Rs80 million each). Keeping in mind the local traffic system, these buses are converted into right steering ones. Each bus is 18m in length with 150 passengers` capacity, having separate compartments for ladies and gents. The MBS bus will cover the 27km distance from Gajjumatta to Shahdara within just 45 minutes which seems quite impossible under prevailing system of congested traffic in the city. The design speed of Metro bus is 40km per hour. The timetable for these modern busses is framed i n such a way that the new bus will be available at each station after every 3 minutes. Metro bus will carry 8,000 passengers per hour and hence will be able to transfer at least one lac persons in 14 working hours per day.
The latest ticketing system is also being introduced at each Metro station, along with other necessary facilities for the passengers. Another important feature of the project is the construction of 32 overhead bridges, one at every kilometer of the main carriage way in average, for the pedestrians. The bridges are accomplished with automatic staircases to facilitate the passengers. Eleven parking places have also been included with the MBS corridor, to facilitate the parking of the public vehicles of the passengers, who opt to reach MBS station on their own vehicles to travel on a Metro bus for a long distance.
The Punjab government has made the payments to the private owners of the land utilised for the project on district Price Assessment Committee Rates, as per law and rules. A total of Rs1.8 billion has been already provided to the Land Acquisition Collector. A three-day special one window camp was arranged at Jinnah Hall to ensure these payments on the instructions of the Chief Minister of Punjab.
Another important factor of implementation of the project is that it also maximizes economic benefits of the people , in shape of many employment opportunities already generated in construction phase which will be increased to many times during operational stages. Thousands of the people are also being employed for the new traffic and security agencies meant for the project. Most of them will be recruited out of ex-servicemen. These newly- ppointed persons will be trained in Elite Training School.
It`s also ensured for the public interests that the fare should remain within the reach of a common people . Four days free journey will be offered for the Lahoriites up to 4 weeks after inauguration. Six Turkish Drivers have reached Lahore to train the local drivers.
The MBS is, no doubt, a matter of pride for the millions of citizens of Lahore and for coming generations too. It will be the only unique service of its kind where a VVIP will be a common man and all car drivers will have to stop at every redsignal and an ordinary person will be granted with a VIP protocol through air conditioned travel from one part of the city to the other.
The project will change the lives of the ordinary people who may rush towards their work places in the minimum possible time and hence will be able to perform well and, of course, more efficiently.
This initiative will, therefore bring a social and economic revolution for both the city as well as the citizens. The persons reaching Lahore for their earning jobs and business activities etc or those going outside the city on daily basis, may enjoy the benefits of the rapid travelling equally and hence will this project is not only meant for people but will also provide the modern journey to the inhabitants of nearby cities.
We should keep in mind that the MBS is an affordable initiative, which will go a long way in reducing emissions and traffic volume. It offers safe, reliable and comfortable transport while saving time and fuel. It will also help attracting investment, and more importantly, create a new culture of public transport and land use in a congested city. The provincial government deserves the credit for being the first in Pakistan for inception of the new concept of public transport, a first step towards modern town planning and urban development. (concluded)
The writer is DGPR Punjab
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