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Karachi transportation woes

A famous adage goes as ‘The deeper the well, the cooler the water.’ The more the investment, the better the infrastructure as well as the more the convenience for the populace. Probably, this is beyond the comprehension of those who need to do it. Economic growth globally is contingent upon the state-of-the-art infrastructure and transportation. The public transportation is a long-held issue of the largest city of Pakistan. Most of the residents of Karachi reminisce about the 60s, 70s and even 80s when Karachi did not have the acute dearth of public buses. The so-called luxurious mini coaches are in a sorry state, let alone the minibuses. Various digital transport facilities have added some relief however it is a drop in the ocean. Billions of dollars are allocated in the budget every year by almost every country globally for the turnaround in the transportation system of the mega cities, which is contrary while talking about the largest city of our country. Pakistan has been beset by economic woes for a decade or so, however, this could be rectified by giving priority to the revenue earning sectors and cities, which eventually would let the country emerge from the long-standing economic crisis.

Karachi is a sprawling and bustling metropolis with dilapidated transportation system, which presents sorry state of affairs. Karachi unlike London, Paris, Jakarta, Moscow, New York City, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Tokyo, São Paulo, Shanghai, Mexico City, Cairo, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur etc. has been the victim of culpable negligence, to say the least. No benefit has accrued to Karachi over the period of last three decades with a year or two of some trivial development, to be precise. Karachi is an industrial behemoth of Pakistan with derelict infrastructure and transportation system.

Karachi; a city of millions of inhabitants belonging to myriads of other cities, towns and villages besides the local population; needs to have the state-of-the-art transportation.

The Green Line bus rapid transit project, initially with 65 diesel-hybrid buses, would bring breathing space in the otherwise run-down transportation system of Karachi which has always been deprived of monumental investment to keep pace with the rest of the world.

Way back in February 2016 during the groundbreaking ceremony of Karachi’s Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, it was claimed that the project would be more beautiful than Lahore metro: a dream still awaited to come true. This project was destined to be completed by the end of 2017, however, new deadlines were announced from time to time. Moreover in the not-too-distant-past, it was announced that the denizens of Karachi would reap the benefits of this project by March 2020, which has elapsed as well. There are news that the project would be completed by the end of 2020. Let’s hope for the best.

There is no denying the fact that this project would add value to the transportation of the megapolis whether it caters to 300,000 passengers or more than that daily. The city desperately needs such projects by virtue of dwindling operational minibuses which according to a conservative estimate are less than 10,000 for millions of Karachiites. There is ample space in the transportation system of Karachi for investment. It is believed that ROI on investment in the transportation system of Karachi is quite hefty which must be tantalizing for the would-be investors in the private sector. The paucity of buses has wreaked havoc so far which needs to be plugged in at the earliest. It would not be wrong to claim that there is paucity of at least ten thousand buses in the metropolis in the wake of the burgeoning population.

The Green Line bus project, a multi-billion federal government-funded public transport project for the country’s business capital, has been the focus of attention by the residents of Karachi and there is no doubt that this is one of the much-awaited and much-needed projects.

The Orange Line project, the Red Line etc. would bring much relief to the neglected transport system. The progress of Orange Line and Red Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) networks is reviewed from time to time by the relevant authorities, however, the residents of Karachi are the sufferers since long. Economic growth of the country and the state-of-art BRT for Karachi have become inextricable in the given circumstances.

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