Will BRT Peshawar stand for 100 years?

I have critically analysed the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Peshawar with insights from Denicol 2020 and Midler 2019.

In my understandings, the BRT Peshawar is not a hundred years project but rather a waste of money by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. If we analyse the design of the project in general. It is on the ground, below the ground and above the ground. The design is not in a tremendous shape which leads to a hundred years revenue contribution to the economy of the KP government.

The BRT design has disrupted so much area from the route. Either the project was supposed to be on the ground or below the ground or above the ground. With my understandings, this design has disrupted the route, we cannot introduce another megaproject on the same route in the upcoming years. With the growing population of Pakistan and KP in specific, the BRT cannot address the transport problem in future. We might need a “Fast Train” below the ground (Underground) or above the ground (on flyovers) which is disrupted by the BRT design. We might demolish this mega project for another mega project in future. In the futuristic approach, I have a strong critic on the design of BRT it was supposed to be in one place rather occupying all the areas.

            The project was launched with its initial budget of 49.453 Billion which was later increased to 66.437 Billion and in the same year, it was increased to 99 Billion rupees.

            In reference to Denicol 2020, “the project shall be installed with understandings of the megaprojects as a complete production system, from planning, through design, manufacturing and construction to the integration of handover”. Moreover, he added, “there should be inspiration drowned from studies and an identification knowledge about, how megaproject performance interrelates and work together to achieve a project goal.”

            In the scenario of BRT Peshawar, I have not witnessed the research studies to be made before the project. Because, in Peshawar, there is only one main route covering all areas of the city which is disrupted by BRT road and the traffic is increasing day by day with increasing the number of vehicles on the roads.

            In the developed countries the bus rapid transit is given a specific route in the same road, above the ground and below the ground, there is “Fast Train” covering the city from all sides. This is not disrupting the local transport system but also increases the flexibility of travelling and save time. And the project stands for a hundred years.

            Secondly, the people of Peshawar are not well educated to use the BRT in a good way rather they used the BRT on August, 13 in the worst way that people were going in overloaded buses, in some areas the public is seen on the top rough of the bus. The travel time doesn’t bring mental ease rather it is witnessed by shouting and noise pollution. Such sort of behaviour from the general public clearly shows that we don’t need BRT, we need quality education to get educated, learn ethics and behave like a good human being.

            All this was supposed to be addressed in the initial studies. In the PC- I the initial budget was 49 Billion which was later increased to 99 Billion till it’s the formal functional date. This shows the lack of feasibility studies and the design of the megaproject.

Denicol 2020, focuses on the planning and design first to be addressed and formulated in a draft before starting the megaproject.

            Furthermore, If I share my eye witness incapability of the project team during the construction of BRT. I have witnessed several times the design is changed after the construction of a specific area. In one case: an underground area was fully constructed later they realized in this area the bus cannot “take a turn” demolished the previous construction and reconstructed the area again, clearly shows the project initial study was not documented in a good way. There are so many other scenarios as well: were near the station the bus was unable to travel because of the low space. Later, they demolished the area and reconstructed that the bus can travel with stations. In one another case, the above flyover was constructed with two holding pillars from the ground which was later questioned by the Asian Development Bank team in the formal visit reported in Tribune. Later on, they demolished the whole flyover and increased the two more supporting pillars from the ground to the flyover. All this shows the incapability of the team and the lack of initial studies and design, along with this there is not the following structure told by Denicol 2020.

            Moreover, all the initial work before the megaproject formulation is not productive enough to generate quality revenue and give back the loaned amount and generate revenue for its formulation.

             In the insight of Denicol 2020 there shall be stakeholder engagement and management. Where there is a concept of institutional context; “the set of formal organizational structures, rules, and informal norms”. In the context of BRT, if I question what are the informal norms? Rules and the organizational structures? Because in Denicol 2020, Who is going to operate the asset? Who will address that the revenue comes from BRT will be collected safely and will give back to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). A good organizational structure is needed because the megaproject is corrupted by the project leaders in the construction which led to increasing in the cost of the project. I don’t think it will be repaid by the BRT.

            Moreover, there shall be a “delivery model strategy” to deliver it’s best and pay back the amount and be a hundred years project.

            In reference to Denicol 2020, referring the stakeholder engagement and management concept of community engagement to the BRT the project involves the local population in the project. The poor performance of the megaproject also refers to the misuse of the general public. People are not guided well about the use of BRT. There shall be a media telecast guidance on the use of the project to keep it safe.

            The last but not the least, in the insight of Denicol 2020, Leadership and Capable Teams to the concept of Project leadership: there is a need of strong leadership role, the project champions, dedicated leaders committed to the success of the project. But in the political scenario of Pakistan, every next government bring down the project of the previous governments. So, in my opinion, this might be discouraged by the next government in the futuristic approach. In the leaders and capable teams, we can take the examples of local firms and companies which are growing so fast because of the good leadership role.

Originally the article is published in Daily Times.

Note: The study is based on two research papers the Denicol 2020 and Midler 2019. In which a study is structured on the megaproject management, performance, problems, solution, failures and success. If you need to read the research papers, search the name or write to me, I will provide you with a soft copy.