• First BRTS starts commercial operation in Karachi
• To be at full capacity of total 80 buses from Jan 10
KARACHI: Describing it as a ‘healthy’ competition between the federal and the Sindh governments to build Bus Rapid Transit Service (BRTS) for Karachi to provide modern transport system to more than 20 million citizens of the city, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail on Saturday challenged the provincial government of the PPP to bring in a better bus service than the federal government-funded Green Line which, he claimed, was up to international standard.
Taking a ride on the first day of its commercial operation, the Sindh governor travelled from Numaish to Hyderi in North Nazimabad and called the service a ‘gift’ to Karachiites on the birthday of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
However, he said the service would start operating at its full capacity of all 80 buses from Jan 10, 2020 after fixing up a few minor glitches.
“It’s a big day for Karachiites,” he said while responding to a question from reporters onboard.
“After more than 15 years, I think the Karachi people have this kind of public transport service. This trend would continue I hope and more bus services would come in for the people of this city.”
The governor said that the Sindh government-funded Orange Line was also in final phases.
“I hope it will soon be connected with this [Green Line]. And I call it healthy competition between the two [federal and provincial] governments. The federal government has built this one and I challenge the Sindh [government] to bring a better one. Then the centre would think over brining much better. This competition would ultimately benefit the people of Karachi,” he said.
He said that within the next few years he was seeing Karachi having a modern transport system competing with major urban centres of the world. The original plan titled ‘Karachi Breeze’ was the only way to resolve the transport problem of the city once and for all, he added.
Some 112.9 kilometres long BRT projects are in place under Karachi Breeze project through five dedicated lines.
However, so far only one out of five lines named Green Line has started its service.
As the wait for Karachiites for the Green Line is over with its completion after more than five years since its groundbreaking in 2016, the Sindh government’s Orange Line is seen second in line to offer its services.
However, there is no visible movement in the three other lines — Red, Blue and Yellow — and their fate is not known yet.
Subscription card for commuters
The Sindh governor said the federal government had introduced a technology-based fare system for Green Line passengers where the people would have to get subscription card.
The card system was the first of its kind to maintain transparency, cost effectiveness and hassle free service to people, he said.
While explaining the fare system, an official at the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (SIDCL) said that minimum subscription of the fare card was set at Rs100 and after first deduction of Rs15 after first two kilometres it would cost passengers Rs5 per two kilometres.
Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2021