First fleet of 30 electric buses hit the roads in Islamabad

Electric buses are finally set to hit Islamabad roads as the city administration received the first batch of 10 electric buses on June 4, with an additional 20 expected within the next 24 hours.

This marks the beginning of a broader initiative to improve urban mobility in Islamabad and offer citizens of Islamabad and Rawalpindi green and sustainable public transportation options.

These 30 electric buses will start operations from the Convention Center, covering two primary routes, according to an official from the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

In addition to these 30 buses, another 70 buses are expected to arrive in Karachi shortly. Following customs clearance, they will be transported to Islamabad. A final batch of 60 buses will complete the fleet, bringing the total to 160 electric buses.

Islamabad bus routes 🚏

The first route will run from the G-11 NUST station to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), passing through sectors G-10, G-9, and G-8. The second route will connect PIMS with Quaid-i-Azam University, passing through sectors G-7, G-6, the National Library, and Bari Imam.

The electric bus service will operate daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., providing a reliable and eco-friendly alternative for commuters.

Bus Timings: The bus service will operate from 6 am to 10 pm.

Charging points

To support the new fleet, the CDA has established a temporary depot with six electric chargers at the Convention Centre. However, the agency faces challenges as it prepares to receive more buses, with no permanent depots or additional charging facilities yet in place.

Earlier, there were plans for the construction of the depots in Zero Point, I-9, and Tramri. However, this planned development is facing delays.

Reduction in public transport fares

Meanwhile, in a separate development, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Irfan Nawaz Memon, approved a reduction in public transport fares following a recent drop in petroleum prices. Effective today, fares for routes longer than 30 kilometers will see a Rs10 decrease. This measure aimed to provide financial relief to daily travelers. Public transport vehicles are now required to display their lease deeds prominently to ensure compliance with the new fare structure.

The transport union pledged full support for this initiative, and strict action will be taken against operators who do not comply with the new regulations.

Assistant commissioners have been tasked with enforcing fare inspections to maintain fair practices in public transport. Commuters are encouraged to report any non-compliance to the authorities to ensure the success of this initiative.

Pakistan ordered 160 electric buses from China’s Higer 🚍🔋

Pakistan made its first significant order of 160 high-end electric buses from Higer at a total order value exceeding $23 million. The Chinese bus manufacturer held a delivery ceremony at Suzhou Industrial Park on January 5, 2024.

The ceremony was attended by CDA Director General Rana, General Manager of NTRC Commercial Projects Amer, Chairman of Universal Atuo Engineering Amir, Huang Shuping, General Manager of Higer Bus, Qiu Yuanhong, Customer Service Director Xie Jianghong, and General Manager of Overseas Sales Jiang Haifeng, graced the ceremony with their presence.

Handover ceremony of 160 electric buses to CDA Islamabad from Chinese bus manufacturer Higer
The official handover ceremony of 160 electric buses was held at Suzhou Industrial Park in China on January 8, 2024. The $23 million deal with Higer marks Pakistan’s first bulk import of electric buses. (Image Credit: Higer)

Although the CDA has been in the tendering process for two new depots since December 2023, no contract has been awarded due to higher-than-expected bid prices. The civic agency may consider re-tendering the project.

Previously, the CDA planned three sites for the construction of bus depots at Zero Point, I-9, and Tramri, but work on these sites has yet to commence. An official has called for an inquiry into the delays.

The CDA’s fleet acquisition was managed by the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC), which will operate the buses. The CDA will pay the NRTC between Rs306 and Rs331 per kilometer for the service.

The initiative followed directives from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who, during his previous tenure, pushed for the launch of new bus services on 13 routes. These routes aimed to connect rural and urban areas, significantly improving public transport across Islamabad.

Key features of Higer Electric Bus 🚍

Higer’s electric buses feature zero emissions, low operating costs, and little noise pollution. With advanced technology, including a high-power motor and quality battery, these buses ensure efficient operation and an endurance mileage of over 250 km. As Higer buses hit Pakistan’s roads, they aim to contribute to greener transportation and improved air quality.

  • Bus interior: 2.3 meters in height, low entrances, and a large passage.
  • Seating: Equipped with 24 passenger seats and 2 folding seats in the wheelchair area, the vehicle can carry more than 45 passengers.
  • Interior design: The design allows passengers to take a quick and efficient ride and effectively increases the carrying capacity. For the driver, a high-end luxurious driver’s seat and driver’s surround ensure safe driving.
  • Software intelligence: All 160 Higer electric buses are equipped with an intelligent operation system T-BOX, which can monitor driver behavior and vehicle operation data in real-time to ensure operational safety and take care of passengers’ rides.

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