COVID-19: Rawalpindi-Islamabad tourist bus to revive dormant sector

Islamabad: With the novel coronavirus curve in the country almost flattening and the virus situation described as being under control, Pakistan’s government is taking a number of steps to resume normal business and to revive its dormant economy.

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One such step is the launch of a colourful, double decker tourist bus service between Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The red-coloured, brand new buses with ‘Sightseeing: Twin Cities’ written in bold letters are plying Islamabad’s roads.

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The Punjab Tourism Development Corporation, with cooperation of the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA), is behind the initiative.

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A test run was held recently for officials of the transport and the district administration of the Punjab and the federal government as well as representatives of local and international media.

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Formal launch

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The Adviser to Chief Minister Punjab for Horticulture & Tourism Asif Mahmoud told the media during the test drive that the formal launching ceremony will take place on August 20 and its route will be from Allama Iqbal Park, Rawalpindi to Shakarparian Point, Islamabad.

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“Initially, we are launching two buses on the approximately 25km route and they will cover almost all the important touristic points of the federal capital, including the Faisal Mosque, Marghazar Zoo, Daman-e-Koh, Constitution Avenue, Lok Virsa, Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Parliament House and Shakarparian,” Mahmoud said.

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The bus has a capacity of 40 tourists; children under five and persons with disabilities will enjoy a free ride, he said. “The objective of the service is to promote tourism, to attract local and the foreign tourists to enjoy the culture and scenery of the twin cities,” he added.

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The Tourism Development Corporation Punjab (TDCP) will operate the buses.

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Local as well as foreign tourists can enjoy the ride in the buses. It will also be good fun for those who are visiting Islamabad from other cities, he said.

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The initial fare has been fixed at is Rs400 (Dh8.74) and there will be a guide on each bus. Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat posted the video of the test drive. https://twitter.com/dcislamabad/status/1294661416117510144

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