QUETTA: The provincial administration of Balochistan has decided to launch the first-ever green bus project in Quetta to provide quality transport services to citizens, said a senior official on Saturday.
Other provinces in the country have already implemented similar plans by introducing metro bus services in places like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan.
Quetta has had an old public transport system for the last three decades, with an estimated 550 carriers to serve a population of about three million.
However, there are only seven routes for the buses, making it difficult for people to commute to different locations in the city without hassle.
“The government purchased eight fleet buses in 2021 to start the green bus service in Quetta,” said the provincial transport secretary, Dr. Muhammad Aslam Baloch, while speaking to Arab News. “However, the project could not be implemented due to some reasons. Now, we have decided to resume it under a public-private partnership program.”
“Four buses will cover the transport routes from the Railway Station to Sariab Custom, and four will commute from the Railway Station to Baleli, an outskirt neighborhood in Quetta,” he continued. “We have decided to start the service within the next three months.”
Local transporters have announced to boycott the green bus service in Quetta, criticizing the government for not first discussing the routes with local bus owners who, they said, were already running their buses in many areas of the city.
“We will not allow the implementation of the green bus service project in Quetta since the government should first decide all the routes [with us],” Saeed Ahmed Takari, information secretary of All Muttahida Bus Association Quetta, told Arab News. “The government should take the local bus association into confidence.”
Syed Ali Shah, a senior Quetta-based journalist, said the provincial authorities had allocated funds for the green bus service in Quetta two years ago while planning to procure 100 buses. Due to the congested streets of the city, however, the transport department only purchased eight vehicles.
“The government decided to start the project with eight buses,” he said. “But due to a lack of proper policy, the plan was not implemented and the buses were parked inside a government warehouse where they were also damaged due to bad weather conditions.”
Fahad Bin Waseem, a 30-year-old Quetta resident, said the project should be “implemented immediately” and the old buses must also be discarded.
“While the government is planning to start the project with eight buses, it should expand the new transport network across Quetta,” he told Arab News.
“The provincial transport department should establish new bus stations in the city and separate roads for the green buses.”