Zu Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit System Transforming Lives

Video | 21 January 2021

In Peshawar, Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the newly inaugurated Zu Peshawar (meaning “Let’s Go Peshawar” in the local language Pashto) is transforming lives of citizens’ in the city.

A center of trade and commerce close to the border with Afghanistan, the city of around 2 million people has grown rapidly putting significant pressure on Peshawar’s already creaking transport infrastructure.

Zu Peshawar features 30 stations along a 27-kilometer corridor linking east to west across the city. It runs a fleet of low-emission, electric-hybrid buses with dedicated lanes to reduce congestion. In addition to well-lit stations, there are priority facilities for women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The entire line also has 100% step-free, universal accessibility.

Jointly financed by ADB, Agence Française de Développement, and the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Zu Peshawar is expected to lead to a 31,000-ton-equivalent reduction in carbon footprint per year.

In a city in which public transport for many was limited to old buses, expensive taxis, or walking, Zu Peshawar is now offering a significantly faster, safer, cleaner, and more affordable option – and profoundly changing lives for the better.

Transcript

This was downtown Peshawar in 2017.

A mix of poorly maintained public transport vehicles, countless private automobiles, and scattered pedestrians, all resulting in chaotic traffic and terrible pollution.

This is downtown Peshawar now.

Since the launch of Zu Peshawar in August 2020, the streets have become more manageable.

Financed jointly by ADB, the Agence Française de Développement, and the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the new BRT system deploys a fleet of electric-hybrid buses with dedicated lanes to improve mobility conditions.

The organized route cuts travel time from east to west of the city from 2 hours to just 45 minutes.

Shazaib Nadeem, commuter:

“When I used local transport from Hayatabad to here (university), it usually took one hour to one and half hour minimum… Zu Peshawar buses have air-conditioning and heaters. Wi-Fi facilities and charging ports are also available for commuters.”

Wajiha Palwasha, commuter:

“I was harassed by a taxi driver… [But with Zu Peshawar] you feel safe, when you think that you are protected all the time with cameras watching you.”

Shahabuddin, commuter:

“In previous transport systems, it was impossible for us to operate because it was not possible to travel with a wheelchair in local transport. So as far as BRT is concerned it is universally accessible for cross disability, we can travel in it daily without any assistance.”

The 30 bus stations are designed to be modern, safe, and accessible, with separate waiting rooms, bathrooms, and ticket counters for women.

Passengers use Zu cards that can be purchased from the ticket counter and reloaded via mobile apps.

More than 8 million people have used the BRT system in the first 3 months of operation.

And it’s expected to benefit more than 300,000 people per day once fully operational.

Zu Peshawar is transforming the experience of traveling in the city.

Not just for BRT passengers, but also for pedestrians and cyclists.

ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang:

“Nowadays you ask anybody in Peshawar, Peshawar BRT is something they will be very proud of talking about. It creates a lot of quality footpaths, it has new energy efficient street lights, it provides much cleaner passenger vehicles, and it generates a much nicer environment. In terms of urban mobility, the system encourages people from all walks of life to use the public transport. It is really changing and transforming the city.”

With Zu Peshawar making transport faster, safer, and cleaner,

And the expected improvement of air quality in the city,

Life in Peshawar can only get better.