PRIME Minister Imran Khan on Friday formally inaugurated the much awaited Green Line Bus Rapid Transit project in Karachi, with the city’s residents seeing a ray of hope for their notorious transport woes.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister also regretted that Karachi’s transport issues were never paid heed to, stressing that no modern city can function without modern transport.
As happens mostly in our country, this Green Line Bus project faced long delays. Work on this federal government-funded bus project had begun after the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif performed its ground breaking in February 2016.
The project was estimated to be completed by the end of 2017 but kept getting new deadlines.
It is irony that a project which had to be completed in two years was made functional after a gap of five and a half years.
Anyway, the project undoubtedly will bring a lot of ease for the residents of Karachi, however, given its size, much more needs to be done to cater to its whole population. Unfortunately, city planning has failed to keep up with Karachi’s rapidly changing dynamics.
A 2019 study, quoted by Bloomberg CityLab, found Karachi’s public transport system the worst in comparison to 99 other major cities around the world.
The city’s public transport system serves less than 42 percent of Karachi’s commuters, relying on decades-old, overcrowded buses that use the roof as a second deck for passengers at times.
Hence, the government must come up with a sustainable urban mobility plan for the city, ensuring a variety of sustainable transport options for the safe, healthy and fluid passage of people and goods.
Complete revival of Karachi’s circular railway project be made part of it. In fact an integrated transport system will also help address the issue of traffic congestion on the roads as when a reliable transport is available; the people prefer using it rather than plying their own vehicles.
This will also go a long way in checking environmental pollution in the city. Whilst rising above political differences, both the federal and provincial governments must work together to address the problems of Karachiites.