In this picture taken on June 1, 2015, a Pakistani worker walks at the Metrobus station in Islamabad. AFP PHOTO / Farooq NAEEM
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Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif opened Islamabad's new half-billion dollar metrobus system on Thursday, which the government hopes will revolutionize transport in the capital but which has been criticized by some as extravagant.The 23-kilometre (14-mile) line, where 68 air-conditioned buses will carry an estimated 135,000 passengers a day along dedicated signal-free lanes, links the leafy capital with its sprawling twin city Rawalpindi.The project was built in 13 months -- six months longer than planned -- at a cost of 44.84 billion rupees ($448 million), and will use buses from Turkey.The citizens of the capital were not consulted," Khan told AFP.He said the "only benefit" would be that for 20 rupees (20 US cents) people can enjoy a ride in an air-conditioned bus in the height of summer.As in Islamabad, that met with skepticism initially but has proved popular, currently ferrying up to 12,000 passengers an hour along its 29-kilometer length.Officials say a mass transit system is indispensable for any city the size of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, and the existing set-up had made commuting an agonizing experiencing for people, particularly women and the elderly.
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