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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Zu Peshawar sets new benchmarks: report

By Bureau report
March 30, 2024
Buses are seen parked at a terminal of the newly-built Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on August 5, 2020. — AFP/File
Buses are seen parked at a terminal of the newly-built Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on August 5, 2020. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) unveiled the latest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Standard for 2024, setting new benchmarks for global BRT systems.

The release highlights Peshawar’s BRT system, Zu Peshawar, as a shining example of excellence in multiple facets of BRT infrastructure.First released in 2012, the BRT Standard was developed when more and more bus rapid transit (BRT) systems were being developed, in the mid to late ‘70s.

Bus Rapid Transit was a new innovation and was not well understood or defined. The Standard was developed to help cities understand BRT and the critical elements of a high-quality system.

Zu Peshawar, which has been awarded the Gold Standard in BRT certification in 2022, stands out not only as South Asia’s only Gold Standard Bus Rapid Transit system but has also obtained the highest-ever score on the BRT Standards scale, an impressive 98 out of 100.

The new documentation underscores Peshawar’s BRT as a benchmark across various parameters including equity, gender balance, affordability, environmental sustainability, safety and universal accessibility.

Institute for Transportation and Development Policy’s report applauds Zu Peshawar’s off-board fare collection system and commendably clear branding and directional signage at stations and on buses, stating, “Zu Peshawar BRT network keeps clear branding and simplified maps available of the routes in its stations.”

The report also highlights Zu Peshawar’s proactive approach towards addressing gender-based violence and personal security, elements integral to the updated scoring system.

TransPeshawar’s initiatives include gender audits, focus groups, and a comprehensive Gender Action Plan (GAP) informing inclusive design solutions such as lower bus handholds, CCTV surveillance, designated women-only spaces, staff training, and awareness campaigns combating harassment.

Dr Tariq Usman, CEO of TransPeshawar said, “To be recognized as a reference for Bus Rapid Transit Standard is not only a profound honour for us at TransPeshawar but also a source of immense pride for the entire nation of Pakistan. It reaffirms our commitment to excellence and our dedication to transforming public transportation for the betterment of our communities.”