1st Intercity Bus Terminal

Inter-city bus terminal needs attention, lacks civic facilities

* CDGK looking for new firm to operate facility

* Bid submission date extended due to lack of interest of private firms

* Civic issues testament to negligence of officials

 

By Jamil Khan | KARACHI

 

THE City District Government Karachi (CDGK) Transport and Communication Department (TCD) is yet to find any suitable firm to manage the city’s first intercity bus terminal located in Yousuf Goth, Baldia Town, which is being run at a loss for the past two years, Daily Times learnt on Monday.terminal

The CDGK had outsourced the management of the intercity bus terminal with the aim of providing satisfactory services to the passengers and maintaining a high standard through public and private partnership. In this regard, the contract was awarded to a private firm that had won the bid against Rs 31.8 million for two years, but unfortunately, the private firm paid only 50 percent of the total amount in the past two years and was, consequently, blacklisted, said sources in the department.

In this regard, the TCD took charge of the terminal and was operating on its own but this further complicated the matter. “The city government had invited bids for the contracts of management, operation and maintenance of the bus terminal for a two year term and the date of awarding the contract was supposed to be December 26, 2008. However, due to the lack of interest from private firms, the city government extended the date till January 10, 2009,” the sources mentioned.

Parking and Terminal Management District Officer Qazi Abdul Qadir confirmed the extension of the date. It is also mentioned that the work on this project was started in 2004 by the former city nazim and completed in December 2006, aiming to provide maximum facilities to the Balochistan-bound buses.

However, a recent visit to the bus terminal revealed that the Rs 140 million project is being completely neglected by the authorities. A number of operators who have been operating their business in the terminal for the past two years complained that their businesses have been reduced by almost 50 percent. The passengers that frequent the bus terminal go to different parts of Balochistan including Quetta, Pashin, Gwadar, Passni, Turbat, Panjgore, Khuzdar, Bakku and others, using common buses to luxury coaches.

Tariq Khan, an operator sitting in his 8×10-square-feet office, pointed out the deserted look of the terminal and said that it was not the situation they had dreamed of before starting their business here. “About two years ago, when we were operating our businesses from different parts of Karachi, about 90 to 100 buses would leave for Balochistan on a daily basis but now only 30 to 35 buses leave in a day,” he said.

He also said that sometimes they have to charge extra fare owing to the low number of passengers so that they can manage to pay the rent of the cubicles that are their so-called booking offices. Sadiq Saeed, another operator complained about the lack of civic facilities, focusing on the scarcity of potable water and power breakdowns. “Earlier, city government officials had promised to provide potable water on a daily basis but the bus operators still have to purchase jerry cans, while sometimes there is no water in the bathrooms, making it a nuisance for the passengers,” he said.

Furthermore, to add to the operators’ misery, there is no proper sanitation system, broken pavements, people parking haphazardly and encroachment of open spaces by cargo shipments throughout the terminal. When the city government officials, present at the entrance gate, were asked for their details, they maintained that they were deputed to give entry tickets to buses just two months ago and could not give any details.

Some of the operators complained that the officials were charging Rs 180 after every 36 hours if a bus did not leave the station, besides the Rs 350 entry fee but the officials denied the allegations.

– Published in Daily Times | Jan 06, 2009

~ by jamilkhan on January 6, 2009.

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