Transportation in Lahore

Lahore is one of Pakistan`s most accessible cities and the only city (after Karachi) in the country where one can find public and private transportation 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This includes public buses, as well as thousands of rickshaws and taxis, which run on compressed natural gas to reduce pollution in the city. About 75% of residents have their own conveyances. The roads in the city are well maintained and are broadened when needed to meet increasing demand.

The Lahore Ring Road (LRR) Project was launched on December 22, 2004 at a groundbreaking ceremony attended by President General Pervez Musharaf. The LRR Project is a large road project being developed by the Punjab Government, intended to ensure efficient and speedy movement of freight and passengers, to alleviate traffic flow problems, and to boost the city`s potential for industrial development. The project includes the construction of a six-lane divided highway, interchanges, RCC bridges, reinforced earth abutments and walls, overhead pedestrian bridges, culverts, tunnels, underpasses, flyovers and related works, at a total projected cost of over Rs. 20 billion and Rs. 13 billion respectively.

The Wahgah Border on the Grand Trunk Road near Lahore and Amritsar, the road was historically the main route of travel from Lahore to Delhi. Today, it is one of the few trade routes between India and Pakistan.

In addition to the historic Grand Trunk Road (G.T. Road), motorways connecting all major cities (Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, etc.) have been built. A motorway to Sialkot is under construction. The government has built underpasses to ease congestion and prevent traffic jams, and according to official figures, Lahore has the highest number of underpasses in Pakistan.

 

                               

Several bus companies operate in Lahore. Premier Bus Services, owned by the Beaconhouse Group, was started in 2003, and provides transportation services to the general public in Lahore. With over 240 buses running on exclusive routes, it is the largest public transport company in Pakistan. As of 2010, the buses are in the process of being converted to compressed natural gas for environmental and economic reasons. Sammi Daewoo`s City Bus Division operates four routes within the city and two suburban routes for Gujranwala and Sheikhupura. Though these buses are fewer in number, they are air-conditioned and provide better comfort to passengers. In addition to these two major companies, there are several other small companies (New Khan Metro, Niazi, etc.) that provide services within Lahore; they cover only particular routes and are few in number.

Pakistan Railways is headquartered in Lahore. Pakistan Railways provides an important mode of transportation for commuters and connects distant parts of the country with Lahore for business, sightseeing, pilgrimage, and education. The Lahore Central Railway Station, built during the British colonial era, is located in the heart of the city.

To accommodate increased air travel, the government built a new city airport in 2003. It was named Allama Iqbal International Airport after the national poet-philosopher of Pakistan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and is served by international airlines as well as the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The previous airport now operates as the Hajj Terminal to facilitate the great influx of pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj every year. Lahore also has a general aviation airport known as Walton Airport.

Lahore Rapid Mass Transit (LRMT) System is a project envisioned to provide mass transit facilities to Lahore. The project is expected to be completed in 2020. In the first phase, two light rail lines will be constructed. The first Green Line between Shahdra and Hamza Town (Ferozpur Road) will be completed by 2011 and cost $2.4 billion. The second Orange Line between Pakistan Mint and Sabzazar will cost US $1.9 billion and will be completed by 2015. In the second phase, Blue and Purple lines will be constructed.

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