KARACHI: After having suffered several hiccups over the five years since its groundbreaking and incurred almost double the cost, the Green Line bus project is all set to offer its services to Karachiites at a launching ceremony to be graced by Prime Minister Imran Khan next month.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail made the announcement to media persons on Monday after performing the first dry run of the project. “I am hopeful this service will be available to Karachiites within a month and a half after a few minor jobs are completed,” he said at one of the 21 stations of the bus on main Shershah Suri Road off North Nazimabad.
“The first shipment of 40 buses is already here for which drivers are being trained and the process is in its final stage. The next shipment of 40 buses will arrive here on Oct 13, raising the fleet to 80 buses, and then Prime Minister Imran Khan will formally launch the service,” he said.
He said the Green Line did not lack any standard applied around the world for Bus Rapid Transit Projects (BRTs) and referred to London metro service where the same quality of stations and services were available for the Londoners.
Imran Ismail attends test run of service; 40 more buses will reach city on 13th
“This project has been completed at a cost of Rs35 billion,” he said. “It’s a world class project which has all the qualities and services to offer which you see in any developed country. Those who are frequent visitors to London suggest that the Metro Service of London has the same design of stations and services. This project is a reflection of the PM’s efforts for the development of Karachi and its people.”
Project cost reaches Rs35bn
Envisaged and executed in February 2016 by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the Green Line bus project was originally estimated to get completed within a year at around Rs16.85 billion funded by the federal government.
However, it took more than five years and Rs35bn to finish and years of frustration, stress and painful experiences of hundreds of thousands of Karachiites who had to trudge through main Shershah Suri Road every day during painfully slow construction of the project.
Approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec), the Green Line project was executed by the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (SIDCL). Starting from KESC Powerhouse Chowrangi in Surjani Town, the bus service is to terminate at Merewether Tower after passing through Nagan Chowrangi, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad and Gurumandir, with 21 stations along its route to cater to 300,000 passengers on a daily basis.
With over 23-kilometre dedicated tracks, including an 11km elevated section, the bus service project offers special services for the disabled. “The project has set special provisions for the special and senior citizens,” said the governor.
“Apart from elevators installed at each station, each bus has automated stairs to support wheelchairs and those who cannot board on the bus due to its height. Once this project is launched, the Karachiites will soon see speedy restoration of Karachi Circular Railway which will resolve transport problem of the mega city to a large extent.”
He said in answer to a question that despite appeal by the prime minister, Sindh had not yet responded to or reviewed its decision over Bundal Island.
He criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party government for its “anti-development” approach.
“The PPP has a very simple problem. They [PPP] don’t do any good nor want anyone to do it for the province. They don’t have a single argument to oppose development of Bundal Island. It will create 100,000 jobs for Sindh people and bring US $14bn investment to the province. How is it against Sindh people’s interests? They can’t convince anyone and don’t want to get convinced by others,” he remarked.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2021