CPEC drastically cuts travel time in Pakistan: Commuters

By Khalid Aziz | Gwadar Pro May 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD, May.29(Gwadar Pro) - Riasat Ali is a retired serviceman living in Rawalpindi, the twin city of the capital Islamabad. His son Shehzad recently got a lucrative job in a multinational beverages company in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. For Riasat, it was no doubt a big moment of joy, but he was equally worried about the hardships his son will go through for 16-18 long hours while traveling between Rawalpindi and Quetta. Having served in Balochistan several times during his service, Riasat knew well about the road conditions and difficulties faced by commuters on this route.

Traveling by train was also out of option, as it also took 32-36 hours to reach Quetta from Rawalpindi.

A day before leaving for Quetta, Shehzad booked a seat on a bus service in Islamabad, which shall depart at 8 a.m. The departure time further added to Riasat’s worries, because as he calculated from his experience, his son must land in Quetta in the middle of the night. It’s not wise in any way to drop in a strange city at the midnight, he advised his son.

“But the guy at the bus terminal said we will be in Quetta before sunset,” Shehzad told his father, who was not going to believe it was possible.

“I was happy and astonished when Shehzad told me over the phone in the evening that they had safely and comfortably reached Quetta,” Riasat told Gwadar Pro, adding that his son later told him that the Islamabad-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway (M-14) of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had reduced travel time between Islamabad and Quetta from 16 to 18 hours to 10-12 hours.

“ M-14 has not only cut the travel time and ensured a comfortable commute, but also saved a lot for us in the costs of fuel and maintenance of vehicles,” Amir, a front desk officer at AK Movers, a transport service in G-9 Markaz of Islamabad, said. “We slashed our fares for Quetta by Rs 200 after the inauguration of the M-14 Motorway earlier this year,” he added.

Before the M-14 Motorway, it took up to 10 hours till Dera Ismail Khan through Talagang-Mianwali Road, the hardest and the most uncomfortable portion of the route. Now it takes only 2-3 hours to reach Dera on M-14, he said. The travel time will further go down once other CPEC road projects between Quetta and Dera Ismail Khan are completed, he said.

Mehmood, a resident of Lakki Marwat, who owns a grocery shop in Rawalpindi, said that M-14 had cut the travel time between his hometown and Rawalpindi by almost 75%. “It once took us 8 hours to reach Lakki, a district of KP province adjacent to Dera Ismail Khan, with a lot of hassle and discomfort. However, the M-14 Motorway has reduced the travel time to only two hours. People from our area can even come to Islamabad for lunch or dinner in a high-end restaurant and go back home the same day,” he revealed. It was beyond imagination before, he said.

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