The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has denied to the proposal of Punjab Metro Bus Authority (PMBA)to jointly run the Metro Bus system in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. CDA Chairman Maroof Afzal explained the cabinet secretary at a meeting that the joint venture would prove to be more of a burden on the CDA and they cannot afford it. More over, he added that running of transportation services like this should be operational under the Capital Territory Authority, just like other private transportations rather than the CDA.

“The operator of metro buses and other services are private entities and should be treated like private transporters which come under the domain of the capital territory administration.”

According to a senior official at CDA Planning Wing, the negotiations at very inflated rates with a private bus operating organization were made by PMBA without any consent of CDA.

“Therefore, the CDA should not be part of the cost sharing,” the official said. “The agreement will completely drain the CDA resources.”

The contracts one-sidedly signed for the next 8 years by the PMBA with the bus operators stated that the private party would be given Rs. 325 per KM. At the same time, the PMBA has given a guarantee for the minimum 200 KM’s daily run. With 68 buses on the route, their daily bill would be around Rs 4.42 million.

“But the main issue is that around 60 per cent of the metro bus route is in Islamabad; therefore, the CDA is being asked to pay Rs2.65 million daily to the PMBA for the buses only.”

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The PMBA had offered the CDA that the income from the tickets sold would be shared at the ratio of 50:50 if the passenger goes between the two cities. The ticket proceeds will completely fall into the CDA’s treasury if the traveler moves within Islamabad. However, CDA will generate nothing if the passenger moves in the limits of Rawalpindi only.

The Metro has a 14 KM track in Islamabad contrary to a shorter 10 KM track in Rawalpindi; hence the PMBA’s 50:50 division strategy is illogical.

Similarly, the other two contracts, the automated ticketing and bus scheduling system and a vast surveillance system, for a period of six years have already been signed by the PMBA with the contractors without taking the CDA into confidence.

Calculations made by the CDA in response to the PMBA offer showed that if the bus fare was Rs20 per person, the total earnings from the sale of tickets would be between Rs1.2 and Rs1.5 million only. Which doesn’t cover the CDA’s share in the contracts, as proposed?

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