Monday, 4 May 2015

The Metro Bus Ride

One Sunday morning, I dragged my husband to take me to Minar-e-Pakistan via Lahore's Metro Bus. I wanted to ride the much hyped bus venture before it was subject to atrocities of misuse.

Lahore Metro BusI was fascinated by the construction of the Metro Bus infrastructure. The system has been built with great care and insight. Metro stations have been built above, below, and parallel to the accompanying road network. Even the opening and closing of the Metro bus doors have been meticulously coordinated with the opening and closing of the Metro station doors. There are, however, certain shortcomings.

The Elevated Metro Bus Track near Minar-e-Pakistan LahoreFor one, I did not appreciate the coin system, and wondered why they had not initiated the card system instead with a card to top up the credit.

To ride the Metro Bus, people need to purchase coins for every one-way journey. Currently, it costs one coin worth Rs. 40 to ride any length of one-way journey via the Metro Bus. Since the Pakistani populace is well-acquainted with mobile phone technology and phone credit options, I believe introducing the card system shouldn't be too difficult for the masses to comprehend.

To date, the government has been subsidising the project by charging a flat fare for every XYZ metres journey travelled. Such subsidies have prevailed for over two years now since the project's commencement in February 2013. These munificent discounts - though appealing in the short term - could have dreadful impacts on the project's sustainability and viability in the long run.

I also found the bus service to be pretty time consuming as it halts at every Metro bus station every few hundred metres away. However, I do understand that public transport is usually a tad slower in an attempt to offer more convenience and accessibility to the masses.

Metro Bus Lahore Stations
The worst part is the congested reality of the buses, even though the congested reality incredibly depicts the true, sad face of poverty, populousness, and lack of education in Pakistan. I feel that the congestion and 'consequences associated with congestion' would deter some users from considering the Metro Bus over other available means of transport.

However, there is room for improvement if a greater number of buses or larger bus sizes are managed. Moreover, there is an urgent need to implement a fair bus fare so that people are consciously made accountable for the length of journey they ride.

In a nutshell, the Metro Bus venture is a pretty commendable effort that extends a neat and well-managed bus service to the masses who do not have the resources to afford and experience quality transport. Yet, the project needs to be urgently secured by taking appropriate steps crucial for the project's long term viability and sustainability.

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