Peshawar              -          Crowds have to wait for their turn to board buses at the BRT stations in the provincial capital and most of people have to elbow their way to get a small space to stand in the air-conditioned vehicles, because mostly the buses are filled to capacity and the crowds are seen standing in the vehicles.

This correspondent took rides in both the Metro of Islamabad and Peshawar’s BRT, and a major problem facing the Peshawar’s service is the lack of space as the buses are mostly overcrowded. This correspondent got a chance to board a fourth bus after three overcrowded vehicles passed and the ride took almost 45 minutes, from purchasing a ticket to landing from the BRT at Saddar, which is a distance of around three kilometres.

The passengers standing in the buses complained that many commuters were travelling all the day without any reason, just for fun, creating problems for those trying to reach their destinations on time.

TransPeshawar spokesman Alamgir Khan also told this scribe that crowds were mainly because many people were nowadays taking rides again and again just for fun. “However, the situation will improve as many would stop unnecessary rides once offices and institutions reopen in near future,” he added.

The BRT of Peshawar has two modes for travel. One is a Zu card that carries balance and from which money is deducted as per the route that a commuter travels. A second mode is the ticket, which can be bought for Rs.50 each.

It may be mentioned here that the Islamabad and Lahore’s Metros charge Rs.20 as the minimum fare per token, while Peshawar’s Metro charges Rs.50 as the minimum fare on ticket, which is Rs.30 higher.

During a ride in Islamabad Metro, the buses were having few commuters and all were seated. On the other hand, Peshawar’s BRT has crowds of people travelling in it and most of them are standing as seats are found occupied almost all the time.

Islamabad Metro’s route is around 25.6 kimoletres and comprises 24 stations, Peshawar’s BRT route is around 28 kilometres comprising 30 stations, while Lahore Metro route is around 27km long with 27 stations. 

Of all the three projects, Peshawar’s BRT is the most expensive, as it cost almost Rs.66 billion due to frequent changes in its design.

Meanwhile, several incidents of mismanagement also happened at the BRT stations on the first and second day after the its launching, especially on the eve of August 14. The incidents prompted the government to deploy the police force at the stations.

Capital City Police Officer Muhammad Ali Gandapur told The Nation that 250 cops had been deployed at the BRT and since their deployment, situation had come under control and people were seen observing the protocols of the service. 

Earlier, the security personnel of a private company were unable to manage the crowds.

“All supervisory officers regularly check BRT stations and corridor; also, dedicated mobiles and riders patrol the BRT corridor while City Patrolling Force vehicles act as first responders in case of any issue at any BRT station or corridor,” the official said.

He said that a focal person has been appointed to sit in BRT central control room at Chamkani for coordination.