Punjab Government Ends Subsidy on Metro Bus Fares

The government of Punjab has announced to end subsidy on Metro Bus fares that cost billions of rupees annually.

This means that around 331,000 passengers, who travel by metro buses in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan every day, will now have to pay more than the current fares so that the government can cut its fiscal deficit.

The decision was announced by the Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Bakht in a brief press talk on Thursday.

Hashim told the media that the provincial government bears a burden of Rs 12 billion every year in terms of fare subsidy on Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi Metro projects.

“Lahore Metro Bus Service from now onwards, being run from Shahdara to Gajjumata, would be charged on a stop-to-stop basis,” Bakht said.

Bakht maintained that ‘these rationalization cuts in fares’ would not burden the masses, and the government subsidy, will also decrease.

Opposition’s Reaction

PML-N has reacted strongly, as expected, as the Metro projects were its brainchild. It argues that the cut in fare subsidy on these projects will put more burden on the masses and will add to their financial woes. PML-N leaders criticized the PTI government’s decision as one against the universal norms. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is yet to break its silence on this issue.

Punjab Metro Bus Project

The PML-N-led government in Punjab, months before the general elections 2013, started a mass transit project in its political fort, Lahore. The idea was to give its supporters something that will make them forget the government’s failure in Sasti Roti, Peeli Taxi, Ashiyana Housing schemes and many more.

Lahore Metro Bus Service, launched in February 2013, covers the 27km-long route from Gajjumata to Shahdara. It was built with Rs 30 billion and causes approximately Rs 4.2 billion in an annual loss to the Punjab government.

Rawalpindi-Islamabad mass transit project was built at a cost of approximately Rs 39 billion and the government was paying a subsidy of Rs 2 billion on this project.

Multan metro project cost Rs 29 billion while the subsidy required to keep it going is Rs 2.1 billion annually.

Similarly, cost of the Orange Line project has reached Rs 250 billion, and it is yet to be finalized. When it comes to run this 27 Kilometre-long automated rapid transit project, it will put a burden of Rs 3.5 billion on the national exchequer.

  • One of the best decision govt take. I fully support them. Fare should be at-least Rs. 50 for 27km on Metro Lahore.

  • This was only a matter of time. And yes, I fully support this decision. If Govt. has to support such projects with Subsidies and everything, it only highlights their inefficiency and bad planning. Sooner or later, decisions have to be made (like this) to let such projects stand on their own.

    • I agree. The loan taken for a country should be invested in a productive venture that generates revenue so the loan can be repaid.

  • This is a poorly planned project. Increase in fares will see drastic fall of ridership which in turn means it will be very hard to operate with next to nil profits. This means that the days are numbered for these projects to exist. A total waste of tax payers money. Cost effective measures are required when it comes to planning mass transportation (public transport). I don’t see this project existing in another 5 years. Tough times are on the cards for us.

  • Wow! Another milestone achieved. What a fantastic relief to poor citizens travelling on Metro.

    The great Mahtma’s govt will increase Ministers’s expenditure budget and will take back any subsidy/benefit from poor people and our great Youth will dance and shout… Yeh hota ha leader yeh hota ha vision.

    • Bhai govt subsidy deti hai fir budget deficit barhta ha, govt ka paisa kam hota ha, fir govt ko tax barhane prte hn hence whats the point of giving subsidy ?

      • bhai peshawar metro ko dekho. rote the k pindi k uuper 42 arab rol dye. ab 79 ho gaye and not complete that project. what is going on. will somone audit that project?

        • The fact you are not aware from Peshawar metro. There are lot of challenges while constructing the root. for example Peshawar is old city, which was not developed for long time. even concern departments does not know under ground construction like water, gas, saverage, power supply. So any disaster happened are repaired by metro. This also slow down construction process. Another example is route.
          You have to also consider all buses are purchased instead of leased as did by Punjab Govt. Moreover Peshawar project includes some parking plaza. All these consideration increased over all cost, but it ll benefit in fare. Be patient; be calm let them to complete and then compare it with Punjab metro.

        • I hope somebody does. Pindi Isb wali metro me main khud jata rehta hun kabhi kabhi. Interesting hoga Peshawar wali se compare krna. Dekhte hn PTI kia gul khilati hai.

  • It should have been done while PML-N was in power. Too bad they appeased voters in Lahore rather than looking out for the interest of other citizens of Punjab and country.

  • Its simple take back the subsidy that was given. So the countries budget is not hit. Gov. provided services should generate revenue that go to the county account or the province account for its future expenses.

    Also subsidy given by the people to the politicians which is ” khata ha par lagta bhe to ha” should never have been given but it is time now that this subsidy given is taken back and the looted money is also taken from them with interest and fines.

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