LAHORE – The Orange Line Train project will affect the 26 existing routes of 350 public sector buses and 1600 wagons/coaches as they will have to be changed for the new transport system map being chalked out, The Nation has learnt.  

The operation of around 85,000 motorcycle rickshaws that ply on GT Road and other areas that are included in the range of train project will also be affected. Sources in the Transport Department said the entire urban transport system of the City will witness a major reshuffle on completion of 1.6 billion USD Lahore Metro Orange Line Train project. The project is a part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor and will complete on October 2017.

Sources said the Transport Department has put on halt major projects that had been prepared for commuters’ facilitation for the next two years the time period for the completion of Metro Train project. “The whole system is being run on ad-hoc. We are waiting for a repeated episode that we witnessed when the Metro Bus Project was complete. Since this project is a bigger one there will be lot of changes made in the intra city transport sector,” they said.

Sources said Lahore Transport Company, the transport regulator in Lahore, has stopped allocation of funds for the purchase of new buses.

“The LTC is waiting for the completion of the project. It had requested for 312 buses for Lahore but transport department has not approved release of funds for their acquisition,” said the sources. They added that a request for buying 200 buses for the Metro Bus Project is lying pending with the Punjab Transport Department. “Transport Department officials are focusing only on mega projects planned for Lahore and other big cities of Punjab. The rest of projects have been put on the back burner,” they said.

Various transport operators including foreign companies are currently plying around 350 buses on different routes. The company requires around 1,500 buses to meet the demand of millions of daily commuters.

The source said that LTC had requested for approval of funds for new buses some six months back but the Transport Department has not approved it. The LTC also put on halt the work on 15 new routes alignment and waiting for the Orange Line completion.

The Punjab Mass Transit Authority is doing comprehensive survey that would help redefine the transport system in Lahore keeping in mind the Orange Line Train Project. The survey would serve as guidance for projects in other cities of Punjab. Sources said the LTC will also follow the same survey for urban transport operation in the city.