KARACHI: The second and final consignment of 40 buses for the Green Line project arrived in the city on Thursday, raising the number of buses to 80, rekindling Karachiites’ hope that Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in the metropolis is set to be launched. It is supposed to facilitate travel of approximately 300,000 passengers daily.
The cargo vessel ‘MV IVY Ocean’ was scheduled to anchor at the Karachi Port on Oct 14 but the unloading of the buses was delayed by a week due to unavailability of a berth for the giant vessel.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar took to the social media to break the news about landing of the buses, expressing his confidence that the bus service would be launched in accordance with the schedule.
“With the arrival of second consignment, now all the 80 buses for the project have reached the city. The preparation for commercial operation of the project [Green Line] is onboard as per the set schedule,” he tweeted.
PM likely to inaugurate the service in a couple of weeks
The first batch of 40 buses had arrived in the city on Sept 19 which the minister had referred to as a “ray of hope” and “milestone”, calling it the beginning of modern public transport service for Karachiites after a long gap of 40 years following the tragic death of a girl in a road accident had drastically changed its political scene.
Mr Umar was apparently alluding to the 1985 incident in which Bushra Zaidi, a student, was killed, triggering ethnic violence that lasted over two decades and completely changed political conditions in Karachi.
Authorities hope that the bus project is now all set to begin its services after its formal launch by Prime Minister Imran Khan at a ceremony within the next few weeks.
“It’s true the project faced some delays in completion but by the grace of Allah, it’s now finished and we are trying our best to open it for public within a month,” said Sindh Governor Imran Ismail while talking to reporters at Governor House at a ceremony for the distribution of electric bikes through a lucky draw among a dozen people.
After having suffered several hiccups since its groundbreaking some five years ago and having incurred double the cost, the Green Line bus project is at last ready for launch.
Envisaged and executed in February 2016 by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the Green Line project was originally scheduled to complete within a year at around Rs16.85 billion and was funded by the federal government. However, it took more than five years and cost Rs35bn to finish.
It was approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council and executed by the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited.
Starting from KESC Powerhouse Chowrangi in Surjani Town, the bus service is to terminate at Merewether Tower via Nagan Chowrangi, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad and Gurumandir, with 21 stations along its route.
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2021