LAHORE – The Lahore Transport Company (LTC) after failing to introduce buses to meet the need of millions daily commuters in the city has now shifted its focus into another business.

It allowed a foreign company to run cabs in Lahore first time after holding the transport responsibilities in Lahore since 2001. Earlier, the Punjab Transport Department regulates the cabs affairs across the province. The foreign company had been allowed to ply 100 yellow cabs in first phase at all Lahore routes with rates of Rs120 per three kilometer.

The foreign transport company is already accumulating millions of rupees per day in term of subsidy provided by Punjab government on metro bus service as it plies buses at multi-billion metro track between Gajumatta and Shahdrah.

Instead of introducing more buses or improving the condition of already 70 per cent dilapidated public transport run at Lahore routes, the company’s fresh move to run taxies is beyond understanding especially in a sense when the cab business already has no success story. The Punjab government sponsored yellow cab schemes no more exists. The people who got the yellow cabs run them for only their private use. Taxi stands in the city either vanished or mere five to six cabs could be seen over there.

“We need more buses and dedicated lanes for them at every route. We can’t afford the mini transport as the capacity of roads in Lahore has badly shrunk due to mess of private cars, mini vans, motorcycle and auto rickshaws,” said a transport department official seeking anonymity.

Lahore needs more than 2,000 buses to meet the daily need of millions of per day commuters in the city of 10 million people. The various private companies mostly of foreigners ply around 300 buses at city routes under the umbrella of LTC. Some of routes are totally without public transport. The local transporters are least interested in investing urban transport sector of the city. The LTC has badly failed to introduce new buses at city routes over years.

LTC CEO Khawaja Haider Latif was repeatedly contacted to get version on the story but he did not attend his phone.

The LTC spokesperson however defended the company’s move to introduce cabs in Lahore. He said the investors would be encouraged in this field in future.