LAHORE - The much-awaited bus service between Pakistan and China started its first operation on a Monday night.

The bus will make another trip on Wednesday. These two tour are part of its trial run while its operation will begin next week.

A private company, North-South Transport Service, is authorised to look after its operation between Lahore and Kashgar city of Chinese.

The distance between the two cities will be covered in around 3o hours and passengers will be served food and tea on different designated places.

A spokesman for NSTS, Muhammad Anwar, told The Nation that first stopover of the bus will be Islamabad-Rawalpindi for pickup of passengers and from where it will stop at Mansehara for breakfast at around 7am. The passengers will be served lunch at Besham at 1pm, he said, adding the stopover will be made at Chelas and Gilgat for tea and dinners at 4pm and 8pm respectively.

The next destinations, Anawar said, will be Sost at 2am for breakfast and Khunjerab Pass (Pak-China border) for security clearance and checking at 12pm. After half an hour, the bus will reach Khunjrab Pass of Chinese side for the checking, from where it will cover the remaining distance till Kashgar in less than three hours. The bus service will make the same stopover while operating from Kashgar to Lahore.

Bus service had to start operation on Saturday but it delayed due to security reasons.

Anwar said the company was receiving an overwhelming response from the public.

He made a request to people to book seat one week in advance.

The bus service will run from Lahore to Kashgar four times a week -- Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from next week. It will bring passengers from the Chinese city to the provincial capital on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. A one-way ticket for the bus service costs Rs13,000 and a return ticket is at Rs23,000. A passenger is allowed baggage up to 20-kilogram. The seat capacity of the bus is 15.

Apart from the bus ticket, the passengers have to carry valid visa and Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) with them. The management of the company claimed that no passenger would be left tired even after two days of travelling and it would be a memorable journey for them.