The Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services, operated by a private company, are at risk of being shut down starting from Wednesday, June 7. This decision comes as a result of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s failure to release payments totaling over Rs750 million to the operator.
Fincancial restraints leads to trouble
In a letter sent on June 3, the operator warned the provincial authorities that if the outstanding amount of Rs754 million was not paid by Monday, June 6, they would have no choice but to halt the services. The letter highlighted that the operator had been experiencing delays in receiving payments for the past three to four months, despite the availability of funds in TransPeshawar’s (TPC) bank account.
The operator explained in the letter that the delayed payments had a negative impact on operational expenses, such as the procurement of diesel, lubricants, parts, electricity, and salaries required for the BRT Peshawar operation.
The operator initially informed the government that it would continue to run the service until Tuesday. However, if the overdue payment of PKR 754 million was not released by Monday, they would be compelled to suspend the BRT Peshawar operation starting from Wednesday, June 7, due to the financial strain caused by non-payment.
Why was the payment delayed?
The payment delay stems from the provincial government’s decision to stop the payments to the operator after the lease agreement for the Peshawar terminal expired in October 2022. The government has been withholding the dues as the company has yet to vacate the terminal.
The potential shutdown of the BRT services in Peshawar raises concerns about the impact on daily commuters who rely on this efficient mode of transportation. The BRT system was implemented with the aim of easing congestion and improving public transportation in the city. However, the ongoing dispute between the operator and the government over the lease agreement has resulted in a financial stalemate, jeopardizing the continuation of the services.
The closure of the BRT services would not only inconvenience passengers but also undermine the government’s efforts to promote sustainable transportation solutions and reduce traffic congestion. It is crucial for both parties to resolve the payment dispute promptly to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the BRT system.
As Wednesday approaches, stakeholders will closely monitor the situation, hoping for a resolution that allows the BRT services to continue without disruption. The provincial government and the operator must engage in constructive dialogue to find a mutually beneficial solution that prioritizes the interests of the public and ensures the long-term viability of the BRT Peshawar system.
Here are some of the possible solutions to the payment dispute:
- The provincial government could release the outstanding payments to the operator.
- The operator could vacate the Peshawar terminal in exchange for the outstanding payments.
- The two parties could reach a mutually beneficial agreement that addresses the concerns of both parties.
The future of the BRT system in Peshawar depends on the resolution of the payment dispute. The provincial government and the operator must engage in constructive dialogue to find a solution that prioritizes the interests of the public and ensures the long-term viability of the BRT Peshawar system.
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