Citizens demand transport service for new Ibd Intl Airport

The citizens have requested the district administration of Rawalpindi to start a transport service for new Islamabad International Airport (IIA) to facilitate the passengers who are facing difficulties to reach the airport through cabs or hiring private vehicles. A project to facilitate the passengers from Rawalpindi to the new Islamabad International Airport, 35 kilometers distance in air-conditioned buses, was announced by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) in April this year but delayed owing to a disagreement between transporters and the administration.
The RTA Rawalpindi had planned to start a bus service to the airport, operating from two locations in the city including Rawat and Koral Chowk. One route was announced from Rawat which passed through Kutcheri Chowk, Saddar, Peshawar Road, Chor Chowk, Pirwadhai Mor, Golra Mor, Chungi 26 and Motorway Chowk before heading to the new airport. The other route was from Koral Chowk to the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, then to Ammar Chowk, Kutcheri Chowk, Saddar, Peshawar Road and at the new airport.
The company had proposed Rs 30 fare from one station to other with monthly cards at a cost of Rs 2500 for the regular commuters. In the first phase, 20 buses were supposed to operate between the new airport and the old airport while picking up passengers from 10 pre-designated stops between Rawat and the new airport. The fare on the bus was set as Rs200 from the old airport to the new airport.
The fare for the passengers climb on from Rawat was Rs70 to reach to the old airport. Passengers travelling from Rawat to the new airport were to be charged Rs 270 as fare.
A bus was supposed to depart from its station after every 15 minutes. Given the shortage of time and resources, the authority had initially planned to operate the service by engaging a private transport company. However, the service, having predefined stops, did not conform to the behaviour patterns of locals and irked the transporters who demanded more stops near Rawat and the airport so they could fill up more passengers and increase returns on each trip.
The situation worsened when the RTA failed to build a proper stop for the buses in Rawat after the administration had not allocated land for the purpose. RTA Secretary Khalid Yameen Satti had previously said that they would set up proper bus stations and stands at every five-kilometers along the route of the bus to facilitate commuters.
This has posed a serious problem for the passengers making their way to Islamabad International Airport via Rawalpindi who have to hire cabs charging up to Rs 2000 fare. However, at night the fare rates surge up to Rs 3,000, people complained.—APP

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