It is an irony that as the population of Karachi went on increasing, the availability of public transport in the city went on decreasing. Perhaps now the need has far surpassed the available means. This is a sad and undeniable reality. However, a new era of rapid mass transit is going to begin with the inauguration of the Green Line Rapid Transport System in the city. The Green Line project is to start functioning in a few days. Several deadlines had been given in the past but they failed to materialise. We hope this time around the deadline will be met, and the transportation problem in Karachi is eased. Initially, around 40 Chinese-made buses will ply the Green Line route from Municipal Park near Jama Cloth up to Surjani Town.
Federal Minister Asad Umar has announced that Green Line Rapid Transport buses will start running from December 10, but the improper state of bus stations and elevators leading to the bus routes have raised doubts about the start of the project. Press reports say encroachments, piles of garbage and un-cleared rubble of construction material close to the Green Line passage mar the project, and in the rush to meet the deadline things are being done in a hurried and haphazard way. There is still time to put things in order for the inauguration of the project.
At present, Karachi has a rundown system of public transportation consisting of rickety buses, mini-buses and Qingqi rickshaws. The last mentioned plying some routes. Public transport is highly inadequate in a city of more than 220 million. Buses are so overcrowded that people have to travel on the rooftops exposing themselves to serious dangers. The shortage of buses and rickshaws has forced many to buy motorcycles. This demonstrates that questions are old but answers are new. The number of motorcycles plying the city roads has become unmanageable. The large number of motorcycles has made it very difficult for the elderly to walk across roads. We expect that the tailpipes of the new buses don’t emit hazardous fumes.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2021.