The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus (Urdu: راولپنڈی اسلام آباد میٹرو بس‎) is a 22.5 km (14.0 mi) bus rapid transit service operating in the Islamabad Rawalpindi metropolitan area in Pakistan. The Metrobus network’s first phase was opened on 4 June 2015, and stretches 22 kilometres between Pak Secretariat, in Islamabad, and Saddar in Rawalpindi. The second stage is currently under construction, and stretched 25.6 kilometres between the Peshawar Morr Interchange and New Islamabad International Airport.[2] The system uses e-ticketing and an Intelligent Transportation System, and is managed by the Punjab Mass Transit Authority.


Based on studies conducted by Government of Punjab and Capital Development Authority, the two governments (Federal & Provincial) joined hands to launch a Metro Bus project to connect the twin cities and alleviate the traffic congestion on this corridor. In a meeting held in Lahore on 19 January 2014, co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chief Minister of Punjab, it was decided that the project shall be funded on 50:50 sharing basis by the Federal Government & Government of the Punjab. As the Punjab Government has already completed successfully a similar Metro Bus project in Lahore, Prime Minister of Pakistan decided that the Provincial Government will execute this project through Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) as the single executing agency for both parts of the project. It will work in close coordination with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the Islamabad Part of the project. Punjab Metrobus Authority (PMA) will control the operation & maintenance of the project after its completion. PMA will also coordinate with CDA at O&M stage of the project.


Construction of the bus rapid transit system began on 28 February 2014 and was completed by June 2015, with 60 buses initially plying on the route. The Rawalpindi Development Authority was tasked with overlooking the project with a cost of approximately 44.31 billion (US$420 million), which was between the federal government and the Punjab provincial government.[3] The initial date of inauguration was set for 28 February 2015, but was delayed work in construction of drainage channels. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated metrobus on 4 June 2015. Even after the launch of the metro bus service, the issues regarding the drainage of rainwater still remained unfinished resulting in the inundation of the underground bus stations during monsoon rains. However, rainfall in the area was above normal throughout the year resulting in greater delay during construction. The project was initially divided into five packages, where Package-1 consisted of flyovers, bridges and pedestrian underpasses. The project was started on April 23, 2014 and was completed on March 27, 2015 incurring a total cost of 33.5 billion (US$320 million) as quoted by the contractor of the project. The construction project was awarded to Habib Construction Services which is one of the largest construction companies of Pakistan and have worked on several other mega projects previously.


Line Length Opening year Route Number of stations Journey time (end to end) Notes
Line 1 Rawalpindi Islamabad Metrobus.png 22.5 km (14.0 mi) 2015 Pak Secretariat-Saddar 24 Every 4–8 minutes during daytime hours (06:00-20:00) [4]
Line 2 Rawalpindi Islamabad Metrobus.png 25.6 km (15.9 mi) 2018 Peshawar Morr-Airport 14

Ticketing and fares

The system uses e-ticketing and Intelligent Transportation System wand. The system is managed by the Punjab Metrobus Authority (PMBA) with the IT part is being carried out in coordination with Punjab IT Board. Functional elements at the stations include ticketing booths, concourse level passenger transfer, escalators, platform screen. toliterities, doors turnstiles for automatic fare collection and all other amenities for passenger convenience. A central ITS control room is also included in the project to control the whole operation of the Metro Bus system.


The current fleet consists of 68 articulated 18-meter-long high-floor buses. These buses were imported and supplied by VPL Limited from the China-based company Sunwin Bus, which is a Joint-Venture formed between SAIC Motor Corporation Limited (SAIC) and Sweden-based Volvo Bus Company, VPL Limited also happens to be the sole after-sales distributor for both Volvo Buses and Sunwin Buses in Pakistan, among other products.

Controversies and under utilisation

The major controversy appeared after first rainy season in Rawalpindi, it was a shock that millions of Rupees project, doesn't even have basic drainage system,[5] similarly cracks appeared after minor earth quack in Rawalpindi, raised question marks over material used in the project.[6] The long term financial model to run the project and under utilisation is serious controversy surrounding project. The reports showed that although 150,000 passenger were expected, but the project was unable to produce over 80,000 passengers in long run. It became utmost difficult for management to afford fuel costs of 68 buses, and only 35 buses were utilised, this produced jamming and rush during peak travelling hours.[7] A research revealed that short distance travellers doesn't prefer travelling metro bus due to entrance time required in bus terminals, and long route travellers only commute during office timing, leaving buses empty other then morning and evening office timings. Also it is noted that bus is unable to connect major parts of city or existing transport infrastructure, leaving options for few to travel. Another serious controversy surrounding project, is its annual loss, according to official numbers a single bus trip costs 9,100 PKRs while it earns only 2,600 PKRs incurring loss of 6,500 PKRs each trip. The huge subsidy contributes Rs 2 billion loss every year, however, raising the cost of ticket, may result in total loss of already dropping passengers.[8] After heavy loans accumulated on Punjab govt. in paying subsidies, it was decided in 2016, to divide the load between Punjab govt. and capital development authority (CDA) on the basis of length in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.[9] However, CDA refused to pay for losses of Metro bus attributing to lack of funds in 2016. Federal govt. provided funds to CDA to shoulder the burden of Punjab Metro authority in 2016, however, in 2017 the problem surfaced again, raising question marks on long term losses and financial burden of under utilised project.[10]

Scams and Corruption probe

The earlier audit report revealed massive corruption Rs. 5 billion for unnecessary construction material used in the project.[11][12] Besides transparency international raised serious question marks on practices followed during construction of the project, award of contracts, and use of material.[13] In detailed report latter auditor general of Pakistan unveiled use of poor quality of concrete and steel causing corruption of further Rs 280.2 million [14] services cost before the project was even launched, project completion in 20 months instead of 9 and peculiar payments made to illegal occupants while acquiring lands.[15] Several unjustified payments noticed during the project even moved transparency international, questioning extraordinary payments and violation of rules and regulations.[16] All these controversies moved NAB to investigate project discrepancies, including electric stairs installation,[17] violation of procedures in pre-qualification,[18] tendering and award of contracts, NAB took records for proper probe from RDA [19]

See also

External links


  1. ^ Hussain, Danish. "Punjab went 'halfsies' on cost, but not on revenue". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Metro Bus extension: NHA assures timely completion - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  3. ^ "Shahbaz to inaugurate work on Metro Bus Service on Feb 28"
  4. ^ Metro bus project: Capital’s civic managers cave in to pressure from Punjab govt
  5. ^ Rawalpindi metro lacked drainage system: Millions wasted could not withstand showers
  6. ^ Cracks appeared after minor earth quack: Service suspended after minor earth quack.
  7. ^ Under utlized buses: operational cost too high to run empty buses over routs.
  8. ^ Economy unviable: White elephant in red paints
  9. ^ Heavy loans of subscidies: CDA to share annual looses of Rwp-Isb metro buses with Punjab
  10. ^ CDA unable to shoulder burden of Metro Bus in long term with Punjab
  11. ^ Audit report revealed corruption of 5 billion Rs.: Unnecessary construction material used.
  12. ^ Audit General of Pakistan exposed corruption in Rawalpindi Metro.
  13. ^ Transparency international questioned Rawalpindi metro.
  14. ^ Audit report revealed corruption of 280.2 million Rs.: Substandard use of material.
  15. ^ Payments made of illegal occupants: Unknown entries payed for acquiring land.
  16. ^ Unusual payments and contracts under question.
  17. ^ NAB to investigate Rawalpindi metro: Question raised on purchase of low quality material.
  18. ^ Pre qualification and contract award questioned: NAB probes violation of rules in purchase of material and award of contracts.
  19. ^ NAB takes record of RWP metro from RDA: Use to low quality materials, and violation in award of contracts