Metro Bus Service Lahore finally has been inaugurated in Lahore on 10 Feb, 2013. It indeed is an ambitious project by the Govt of the Punjab, as envisioned by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. What went behind the project especially the inner workings, now may not be of much interest to all, what matters now is the outcome of this project.
The project total cost was Rs:30 billion officially and according to unofficial figures it was upto Rs: 70 billion and it took about one & half years to complete the 27 km dedicated Bus track. New flyovers have been built especially in areas which are congested like near Data Darbar to Kalima Chowk at various places. There are also many underpasses newly built.
New long body buses have been imported which are air-conditioned. Separate dedicated Bus stations have been built. Some of them have escalators – electric staircases- so that people who cannot climb manual stairs can take an advantage of the automatic electric stairs.- which are good for the old & senior citizens too.
The rationale behind the implementation of this project is to bring some discipline in the public transport system – which in itself it very right approach. Every big city of the world now has many parallel transport systems running along, whether it is Tokyo, New York, London, Paris or Dubai.
One of the most difficult thing in the history of nations, organization as well individuals is the change resistance; and ‘change management’ . There are indeed many apprehensions associated with the Metro Bus Service project.
First, it is going to be the new thing for people of Lahore. How they will experience it is still yet to be seen. Secondly, the project itself has limited expanse. It is not reaching out to colleges, universities, hospitals and offices nearby, so that all these students could also have availed it instead of some other private transport.
Currently the target audience seems to be the same one – labour, and some tourists, who happen to have the same route to commute. Now, they can easily avail the new service. But in one way the start is right. Now, it upto the people of Lahore whether they will make it success or failure.
In my opinion the rail transit system should have been much better & convenient. But I guess that had very high cost. The positive side is that if this Metro Bus Service Lahore becomes successful, it can later graduate to rail transit system also.
Anyway, let’s hope & wish this project success, because it is for the people of Lahore after all.