Getting there & away
Quetta is a substantial distance from any other major Pakistani city. The main highways spoke out from Quetta to Taftan, Karachi, Jacobabad and Dera Ghazi (DG) Khan. Off these roads there are few services and travel is often restricted without official permission (consult the PTDC office). For more information, see Travelling Safely in Balochistan.
Long-distance services operate from the main bus stand, sometimes referred to as the New Quetta Bus Stand, or Bus Adda. It’s about 1.5km south of the train station. Buses (Rs 4) and autorickshaws (about Rs 20) go there from Jinnah Rd and from near the train station. Note that Balochistan’s security situation can affect whether you are allowed to travel by public transport – during research we were prevented from travelling on the direct Quetta–Peshawar bus, for instance.
Minibuses leave every hour or so for Ziarat (Rs 50, 2½ hours), less often in winter. There are also regular minibuses to Sibi, Nushki, Kalat, Khuzdar and Chaman, and many direct buses to Loralai. There are direct buses to Gwadar, via Turbat.
There are several air-con private bus companies at the main bus stand, including Sadabahar Private Bus Company (2452290), which has services to Multan (Rs 675, 13 hours, daily), Karachi (Rs 380, 12 hours, six daily), Lahore (Rs 700, 20 hours, daily), Peshawar (Rs 810, 24 hours, daily), Rawalpindi (Rs 7800, 23 hours, two daily) and Taftan (Rs 350, 13 hours, four daily).
Kurdish Coach (no phone; Jinnah Rd) has a daily service to Taftan (Rs 350, 13 hours). A handful of other bus companies also operates offices on the lower part of Jinnah Rd with services to Taftan. Note that most Taftan buses travel overnight, arriving at the Iran border in the early morning.
Quetta’s train station is very ordered compared to others in Pakistan. Tickets are sold at the train station’s reservation and booking office, and foreigners and students are entitled to special concessions.
Please note that timetables and fares are likely to change. You can double-check at the station or direct with Pakistan Railways (117; www.pakrail.com). The newspaper stand at the station sometimes sells copies of the booklet Time & Fare Table (Rs 25), which is updated twice yearly.
Given the distances to other Pakistani cities, this may be one of those occasions when you break the overland creed and fly. Competition between the three airlines keeps prices competitive, but flights can fill quickly.
Air Blue (2830124; S5/S37, Swiss Plaza, Hali Rd) Has a daily flight to Karachi.
PIA (9203861; 17 Hali Rd) Has daily flights to Islamabad (Rs 6250, 85 minutes) and Karachi (Rs 6250, 50 minutes), as well as flying four times a week to Lahore (Rs 4090, one hour) and twice weekly to Gwadar. A direct Quetta–Peshawar service is planned.