Lahore Metro Bus

Lahore metro bus near Badshahi masjid
Lahore metro bus near Badshahi masjid

The Lahore Bus Rapid Transit or Lahore Metrobus, is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.

The first section, which consists of a 27-kilometres long route and 29 bus stations between Gajumata to Shahadra was opened by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in February 2013.

The route covers dozens of residential and commercial localities along the city’s main artery — Ferozepur road, linking together Lytton road, Jain Mandar, MAO College, Lower Mall, Civil Secretariat, Aiwan-i-Adal, Chowk Katchehry (District Courts), Shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh, Ravi Road, and Shahdra town. The other routes are over mountain passes. An 8-kilometer section of the route is elevated.

The system uses e-ticketing and Intelligent Transportation System wand. The system is managed by the Punjab Metrobus Authority (PMBA) with the IT part is being carried out in coordination with Punjab IT Board.

Lahore Transport Company was established in 1984 to ease the traffic conditions of Lahore and improve bus services. LTC got all the transport responsibilities of traveling in Lahore in December 2009. A BRTS fleet of 650 Buses was introduced. It was given name “TransLahore”. However, the BRTS did not have dedicated lanes and had to share roads with regular traffic with no right of way privileges. This resulted in a system that was a BRTS only in name.

After 20 years of discussion, the ambitious and expensive Lahore Metro, which had first been proposed in 1991 was abandoned in favour of a bus transit system, inspired by the successful Istanbul Metrobus system. Plans were developed in the last quarter of 2011 by both local and Turkish experts.

Construction of the project was divided into different packages and was awarded to different contractors. M/s Zahir Khan & Brothers in Joint venture with M/s Reliable Engineering Services (Pvt.) Limited constructed the major part of the Flyover including two elevated rotaries for BRTS.Habib Construction Services construct the down ramp to taxali gate of flyover. Construction project started in March 2012 and buses entered service in February 2013. The system, which was constructed by the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA), a subsidiary of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) at a cost Rs 29.8 billion. The system was built on the build–operate–transfer basis via the collaboration between the Punjab and the Turkish government.

The system was inaugurated by Punjab, Chief Minister, Mian Shahbaz Sharif on February 11, 2013, in a ceremony attended by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Prime Minister and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, as well as ambassadors from a number of other countries. The Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş, also announced a gift of 100 buses.[8] It is Pakistan’s first bus rapid transit system.

Lahore MBS currently operates a fleet of 86 buses. The buses run on a single 28.7 km long Ferozepur Road corridor with two other corridors being planned. Buses on the current route have an average speed of 26 km/h.

Following the initiation ceremony, use of the system was to be free during the first month. However, following a week of chaos and overcrowding, a fare of Rs. 20 (US$0.2) was imposed irrespective of the destination.

According to the Lahore Transport Company, the daily ridership of the Metrobus exceeds 180,000 with the peak hourly ridership being 10,000 passengers per hour per direction (p/h/d). Studies conducted by the transport company claim that this figure will increase by 222% to 20,000 p/h/d in 2021. To keep the cost affordable for everyone Punjab Government has to pay Rs 40 as subsidy on each Re 20 ticket.

The Lahore Metrobus meets the criteria laid out by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. It has barrier-controlled, automated off-board fare collection, a service interval of less than 2 minutes during peak hours, stations with well-designed signage and information systems and a precision bus docking system (See: Guided Bus). The terminal approach system has escalators and underground, subway-styled approach tubes. Due to these approach tubes, prospective passengers don’t have to cross high-speed roads to get to the stations, but go below them instead, an example of a segregated Right-of-way. The stations have parking spaces for motorbikes and cycles while the two terminals provide car-parking facilities as well.

Ticketing System
Two types of ticketing systems exist at the Metrobus terminals:

Single-ride tokens that are good for one journey only and can be purchased for Rs. 20 (US$0.20) at the on-site ticket booth or the self-service Ticket Vending Machines (TVM).
Metrobus Cards that can be utilized for multiple journeys. These RFID-based cards are credit-card sized and can be obtained from the ticket-office for a refundable amount of Rs. 130 (US$1.33). These cards can be recharged to a maximum balance of Rs. 1000 (US$10) at the TVMs. The Metrobus cards remove the hassle of standing in a queue for a token and card-holders can proceed directly to the terminal.
The route of the bus transit system is as follows:
1.Lahore Metrobus

3.Gajjumata Terminal
4.Dulu Khurd Station
5.Youhanabad Station
6.Nishtar Colony Station
7.Atari Saroba Station
8.Kamahan Station
9.Chungi Amar Sidhu Station
10.Ghazi Chowk Station
11.Qainchi Chowk Station
12.Ittefaq Hospital Station
13.Naseerabad Station
14.Model Town Station
15.Kalma Chowk Station
16.Gaddafi Stadium Station
17.Canal Road Station
18.Ichhra Station
19.Shama Road Station
20.Qartaba Chowk Station
21.Janazgah Station
22.MAO College Station
23.Civil Secretariat Station
24.Kachery Station
25.Bhatti Chowk Station
26.Azadi Chowk Station
27.Timber Market Station
28.Niazi Chowk Station
29.Shahdara Terminal
The Punjab Government in April 2015 approved the expansion of Lahore Metrobus. 15 km track will added on current route. On Northern end it will be expanded 10 km from Shahdara to Kala Shah Kaku and on Southern end it will be expanded 5 km from Gajjumata to Lda city near Kahna.

Overheating vehicles, May 2013
During late May 2013, the Metrobuses started to develop an over-heating problem as the temperatures in the city crossed 45°C. The air-conditioners gave away and the engines started blowing fumes. Passengers had to bear sweltering heat in the congested buses as well as constant stoppages.[17] Punjab Metrobus Authority’s public relations officer, Amir Masood, told the media that when the buses were imported the manufacturers, Sweden-based Volvo and China-based Sunwin, were told to provide buses that could remain operational in temperatures approaching 51 °C. When the operation error came to surface, Masood said that the suppliers are being fined and the further import of buses from them is halted. To counter the problem, new air-conditioning units were fitted in the buses in late June 2013.

Related Projects.
The Punjab Government, in the development program of 2013-14, proposed similar Metrobus projects for Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan.[19] Metrobus in Islamabad and Rawalpindi was inaugurated on 4 June 2015 by the Prime Minister himself.[20] Multan Metrobus is under construction in the city of Multan. Karachi Metrobus and Faisalabad Metrobus are also planned.They are just been planned when construction will start.