Bus service to Northern Areas launched
30 November 2006
The Daily Times
Islamabad: The first bus of Northern Areas Transport Corporations (NATCO) new non-stop VIP Express Service left for Gilgit on Thursday. Officials saw off the passengers from the NATCO offices in Islamabad on a journey they said would cut down the travel time from the normal 18 to about 14 hours. Syed Sharfuddin Kazmi of NATCO said that 10 new coasters procured at a cost of Rs 40 million would also connect Islamabad with Skardu, Khaplu, Astore, Diamer and Ghizer. The corporation already has 130 passenger vehicles plying various routes among them the Islamabad-Karachi and Islamabad-Lahore sectors. A service to Peshawar and Bahawalpur is also planned, Kazmi said. To facilitate commuters, new passenger and cargo booths have been set up at the station. NATCO also has a counter at the nearby Pirwadhai Bus Stand. The new service will facilitate tourists and Pakistan International Airlines passengers facing flight cancellations because of the unpredictable weather in the Northern Areas. To help the air travelers, NATCO has specifically scheduled its departures to Gilgit at 8am so that such passengers could come straight to the bus stand from the airport. It will help people avoid the risk of losing valuable time in case their flight is cancelled again the following day, Kazmi said.