LAHORE - The Punjab Masstransit Authority (PMA) has failed to look after the Lahore Metrobus System.

The Lahore Metrobus System, also known as the Bus Rapid Transit System in Lahore, was set up to provide safe, efficient and comfortable urban transportation system to ordinary citizens. However, the PMA has failed to ensure its maintenance. Some stations have become out of order. Fire incidents took place at a couple of stations and water motors have burn out.

The ceiling sheets of at-grade curbside platforms’ roofs have disappeared or the sheets found stored in the cabins once set up for Gourmet canteens. Likewise, the non-functional, damaged or leaked water coolers have deprived not only passengers but also employees of potable water facility for months and at some places for one-and-a-half years. The Canal Station corridor leading to Gajjumatta has been non-functional for some months thanks to the companies hired by the PMA.

The contractor who was assigned the task left work incomplete about three months ago, while the repair work, as per experts, should have been completed within one month. The negligence of the firms has been creating problems for commuters going to areas towards Gajjumatta Station for months.

As commuters reach the platform to board the metro bus to Gajjumatta, the staff deputed there gives them a surprise; telling them to go back because the station has yet to be made functional.

At the Canal Station lane leading to Gajjumatta, a construction machine, empty cans of different material used in repair work, debris, water pipes, drums etc have been left for the last three months, as the contractor has left the work incomplete. However, the PMA has failed to arrange another contractor to complete it although educational institutions have reopened after summer vacation. Students, especially girls from areas along the canal, face difficulties in taking bus from the canal station where a number of educational institutions, including FC College and Punjab College, are located.

Likewise, repair of a small part of Attari Saropa Station has taken two months, but work is still incomplete thereby creating hurdles in smooth flow of traffic.

In addition, the security system of a couple of stations, including Ittefaq Hospital Station and Qainchi Station, was gutted in fire incidents. The burnt closed-circuit television cameras, wires and other related gadgets have disappeared from the scene, perhaps disposed of in the cabins located beneath the escalators.

Though water coolers have been placed at all metro stations, most of them have become non-functional either due to unavailability of water because water motors of various stations burnt out three or four months ago or leakage or other faults in water coolers.

At Kamahan and Shama stations, water motors burnt out four and two months ago, respectively, thereby making the toilets and water coolers absolutely non-functional. Likewise, Choongi Amar Sidhu Station has been faced with non-functioning of water motor for the last six months with fans disappeared or burnt out. The water cooler at the Qainchi Station platform, whose ceiling sheets like other at-grade stations’ roofs have disappeared, has given electric shocks to a number of passengers and staffers thus it has been switched off. Despite repeated calls to helpline (024111222627), the issue has not been fixed so far.

Moreover, various escalators have been left faulty since establishment of the project, including that of Qartaba Chowk on the side leading to Gajjumatta. The station has also been facing complete disappearance of fans that were removed for repair three months ago but not restored so far. Water coolers here are also non-functional.

At Yohannabad Station, fans have been dysfunctional for the last one-and-a-half years, while the other infrastructure has been left damaged since twin church blasts took place in Yohanna Abad in March, 2015 when a mob ransacked the metro station. Basic facilities at the Nashtar Colony Station have been unavailable for the last one year.

At the Gajjumatta Station, coolers placed on its both sides were fond out of order and passengers were found complaining about unavailability of water, let alone cold water. The PMA has also failed to get ensured the maintenance of the corridor and ancillary facilities.

The Ittefaq Station where CCTV Surveillance System was gutted is just a stone’s throw from the site where at least 26 people, including nine policemen, were killed and 58 others injured in a recent terror attack near the Arfa Karim IT Tower on Lahore's Ferozepur Road.

Mr Kamran who oversees the service providers and maintenance staff could not justify the prolonged delay in completion of repair work, saying that his job was just to convey the complaints to the PMA and nothing else.

Supervisors of various stations said on condition of anonymity that they used to report the missing facilities to the authorities concerned twice a day but to no avail. Despite repeated attempts, Lahore Transport Company Chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hassan could not be reached for comments.