Rawalpindi-The residents have urged the Rawalpindi district administration to start a bus service for new Islamabad International Airport to facilitate the passengers.

A project to facilitate passengers from Rawalpindi to new Islamabad International Airport was delayed due to a disagreement between transporters and the administration.

The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) Rawalpindi had planned to start a bus service to the airport, operating from two locations in the city including Rawat and Koral Chowk.

One route was announced from Rawat passing through Kutcheri Chowk, Saddar, Peshawar Road, Chor Chowk, Pirwadhai Mor, Golra Mor, Chungi 26 and Motorway Chowk before heading to the new airport.

The other route was from Koral Chowk to Benazir Bhutto International Airport, then to Ammar Chowk, Kutcheri Chowk, Saddar, Peshawar Road and ending at the new airport. The company had proposed Rs30 fare from one station to other with monthly cards at a cost of Rs2,500 for the regular commuters.

In the first phase, 20 buses were supposed to ply between the new airport and the old one while picking up passengers from 10 pre-designated stops between Rawat and the new airport. The fare on the buses was set at Rs200 from the old airport to the new airport.

The fare for the passengers from Rawat was Rs70 to reach to the old airport. Passengers travelling from Rawat to the new airport were to be charged Rs270. A bus was supposed to depart from its station after every 15 minutes.

Given the shortage of time and resources, the authority had initially planned to operate the service by engaging a private transport company.

However, with the service having predefined stops which did not conform to the behaviour patterns of locals, it irked the transporters who demanded more stops near Rawat and the airport so that they could fill up more passengers and increase returns on each trip.

The situation worsened when the RTA failed to build a proper stop for the buses in Rawat after the administration allegedly refused to allocate land for the purpose. RTA Secretary Khalid Yameen Satti had previously said that they would set up proper bus stations and stands at every five-kilometres along the route of the bus to facilitate commuters.

This has posed a problem for the passengers making their way to the IIA via Rawalpindi who have to hire taxi cabs which are charging up to Rs2,000 in fares. These can go up to as much as Rs3,000 at night.