Funds not yet received to bring 73 CNG buses back on roads

KARACHI: Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) transport department has not yet received the promised funds for running 73 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, which were purchased by city district government in 2009 for about Rs1bn.

The fleet of 73 CNG buses is standing at Surjani Bus Terminal. The pilot-project of 75 buses which was initiated by Karachi Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal in 2009 ran successfully in the city till February 2012 but this project was suspended by the KMC administration due to lack of funds.

It is pertinent to mention here that KMC Administrator Rauf Akhter Siddique, visited the CNG bus terminal in Surjani Town on Monday and directed the officials to initiate the project as soon as possible.

Talking to PPI, Additional Director KMC Transport Department, Saeed Akhter Rizvi, said that the funds required for maintenance of buses were still not released which was creating hurdles in bring the buses on roads. “Rs6million is required for the revival for this project and the amount will be released in phases,” he said.

Rizvi said that if the money is released, it would take only 10 days to bring these CNG buses in a running condition on Karachi streets. “Minor problems like replacement of tyres and batteries are required to solve to run these buses,” he said.

He said that bus service was halted due to non-payment to filling stations and closure of gas stations for two days a week. Contradictory to private buses, these CNG buses have cylinders, having a capacity of 100 kg gas. CNG stations prefer to fill gas in private buses as they consume less gas and their payments are in cash, he said. “We do not pay cash, instead our department directly pays to their companies; therefore, it created a debt, causing halt in the bus service.”

He said that after standing for almost a year in bus terminal, maintenance problems had also occurred in these buses. However, he said that these problems were not so big that could not be tackled.

He said that the current fare of the bus was also a major cause of concern as it was not enough to recover maintenance charges. “We were charging Rs 20 but that was not enough to run buses. It is now in the hands of Administrator Karachi, Rauf Akhter Farooqui, to increase fare of the bus so that expenses regarding payments of employees and maintenance could be recovered.”

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