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September 17, 2020

Peshawar BRT service suspended indefinitely

Top Story

September 17, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Wednesday suspended service of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to review the technical performance of all the buses comprehensively after several of the vehicles caught fire since its launch in mid-August. At least four buses have been burnt so far, with the latest being seen on fire on Wednesday, raising fears among the people using the service. The fourth bus caught fire on Hayatabad feeder route but the flames were doused by the rescue team. No casualties or injuries were reported in the incident. The first bus had caught fire days after the launch of the project, which was followed by a similar incident on University Road while the third fire incident had occurred near BRT station in Gulbahar locality. The passengers had miraculously escaped harm. When the first incident happened, authorities had directed rescue teams to stay alert against such occurrences in future.

Provincial authorities had constituted an inquiry committee to probe technical faults in 12 and 18-meter buses. The task assigned to the inquiry committee remained unfulfilled.

The provincial government had also approached the Chinese manufacturing company, Xiamen Golden Dragon Bus Company, to inspect the faulty buses. A team of Chinese engineers had visited the provincial capital to review the performance of the buses.

Muhammad Umair, spokesperson of the Tans-Peshawar, the company that runs the BRT service, said that the service has been temporarily suspended to identify the root cause of technical fault in buses.

“The Chinese manufacturers have also advised to suspend the operations temporarily to avoid any untoward incident,” the spokesperson said.

The bus service, Umair said, will resume after proper investigation, and addressing the problem.

Meanwhile, a new team of the bus manufacturers has also arrived in Peshawar to assist the previous team.

Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Information and Local Government Kamran Bangash confirmed that the service had been suspended “for the time being.”

When asked to elaborate, he said it would remain suspended till the submission of the report.

When questioned if there was any possibility that the engineering design could have been responsible for the buses faults, he said the technical team from China would investigate all aspects. However, he said, the route had no problem but added that this aspect may be investigated as well.

He dispelled the impression that drivers were not well trained, saying they were trained and professional.