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ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is likely to miss the deadline of launching the much-awaited metro bus service from Peshawar Mor to Islamabad International Airport (IIA).

The launching ceremony of metro bus service was scheduled for March 23rd.

However, it has been learnt that the dispatch of 20 buses from China has been delayed due to observance of standard operating procedure (SOP) adopted by the Chinese government for the Covid-19.

Sources in the CDA said that before shipment of the buses, the Chinese company was under obligation to get them inspected from foreign experts.

The team has arrived in China’s capital Beijing as per schedule and had been quarantined for 14 days.

However, the team had to quarantine again when they visited the factory situated in another city, the sources said, adding that as per Chinese SOP for Covid-19, one needs to be quarantined for intra-city travelling.

As a result, the delivery of the buses has been delayed for another 14 days, since the team has to observe quarantine for such a period, the sources added.

The sources; however, expressed hope that since the CDA has made all the arrangements, therefore, the launching ceremony would not be delayed for 14 days and the civic agency will ensure to ply these buses by the end of March or well within the first week of April for sure.

Sources said that the CDA has ordered 20 buses, out of which, 14 will stop at different stations, while six buses will complete the route from Peshawar Mor to the airport without any stop.

However, it has been learnt that a brief stop at the middle of the route has been proposed in order to enable the passengers who intend to go to the airport from Rawalpindi.

The launching date of the metro bus service was revealed during the meeting of the commission tasked with revising Islamabad’s master plan.

In 2020, the CDA got PC-1 worth Rs1.9 billion approved for procuring 30 buses and set up a ticketing, command and control system. However, the civic agency had been making efforts to get the fund release from the federal government for purchasing 30 buses.

They said once the entire project was shifted to the CDA, as a stop-gap arrangement the civic agency could request Islamabad/ Rawalpindi Metro Bus Service to ply a few buses on the route until the CDA procures the buses.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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