Islamabad - Capital Development Authority (CDA) has started the process for running a decent, safe and efficient public transport service for the denizens of Islamabad on at least six newly-selected routes.

The urban buses would ply on six routes under the Islamabad Bus Service (IBS) Project.

The authority has invited expression of interest for operation, management, and maintenance of the buses, which marked the start of the process.

However, the officials at the CDA said that the project will take few more months to be functional. 

They said the IBS Project will be a state-of-the-art service with new air-conditioned buses with easy access for handicapped and senior citizens. The IBS network will comprise of initially six routes with a kerbside priority lane marking for the IBS buses at key junction/congestion points.

A fleet of modern air conditioned buses will serve the IBS stations on a 6-minutes frequency during peak hours and 12-minutes frequency at other times.

Services will operate from Monday to Saturday from 6.30am to 10.30pm. On Sundays and public holidays, services will operate from 8am to 10pm.

On the question of subsidy, the officials said that the project does not need subsidy for peak hours but they said it will face shortage of passengers during the off-peak hours. 

The proposed routes having their origin and destination points include Rawat to Faisal Mosque via Islamabad Expressway; Barakahu to Margalla Road via 7th Avenue; Pir Wadhai Chowk to Metro IJP Station via IJP Road; Nilore to Khanna Bridge via Islamabad Highway; Tramri Chowk (Lahtrar Road) to Aabpara via Park Road; and Golra Chowk to Chaman Metro Station via Kashmir Highway.

Islamabad, the 10th most populous city in Pakistan, currently has an estimated population of 1.8 million. It is estimated that within Islamabad, there are about 700,000 daily trips originating and terminating within the city and up to a further 500,000 daily trips which either travel to or from the city to adjoining urban areas. The level of congestion is becoming noticeably worse with the passage of time.

Recently, a Metro Bus Service between Rawalpindi and Islamabad was introduced by the government that connects the business zones of the twin cities.

The IBS Project when compared with the current public transport serving Islamabad is a new concept. In order to meet the growing need, the CDA intends to select a national/international firm/consortium for establishing the Islamabad Bus Service Project for Islamabad on the selected routes.

A number of service contracts, required to guarantee the quality standards expected by the passenger, will be entered into between the IBS service provider (operator) and the CDA.

These included Operation management and maintenance of new air-conditioned diesel buses for a period of 7 years; the supply, installation and management of the automated fare collection system for a period of 7 years; monitoring and reporting of the security system; the construction of route infrastructure including allied facilities and regular maintenance and cleaning of the infrastructure for a period of 7 years.