Almost finished structure of Orange Line in Karachi awaits buses, ticketing system

Published May 7, 2022
A worker is installing cable on electric poles (left) as construction material lies at an Orange Line bus station. —Fahim Siddiqi White Star
A worker is installing cable on electric poles (left) as construction material lies at an Orange Line bus station. —Fahim Siddiqi White Star

KARACHI: After more than five years of ground-breaking of Orange Line bus rapid transit service (BRTS) in 2016, the Sindh government on Friday announced completion of its structure, but added that the service would still take more time to start as supply of 20 buses to ply on the 3.8 kilometres route and an automated ticketing system from the Centre were still awaited.

The fresh development emerged during a meeting chaired by Sindh Information and Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon on BRTS projects in which he was briefed about the status of the two schemes — Orange Line and Red Line.

“The construction and civil work on Orange Line project is almost 98 per cent completed,” said a statement issued after the meeting.

The minister, the statement said, directed the officials concerned to fix all issues and make the project 100 per cent ready within a month.

Transport minister orders making project ready within a month

“I want this civil work and remaining construction issues fixed within a month,” the statement quoted Mr Memon as saying.

“Hundreds of thousands of residents of Orangi Town and adjoining areas will benefit from this project. There shall be a better coordination between the provincial transport department and the SIDCL [Sindh Infrastructure Development Co. Limited] so the remaining issues can be resolved at the earliest.”

Launched in 2016, the Sindh government’s Orange Line — which has been renamed after Abdul Sattar Edhi as the Abdul Sattar Edhi Line — is second in the line under the BRT for Karachi to offer its services after the federal government’s Green Line service, which was inaugurated by the federal government in December 2021.

Known as Karachi Breeze, some 112.9 kilometres long BRT projects are in place for Karachi through five dedicated lines.

However, so far only one of five lines — Green Line — has been started.

Work on the more than two billion rupees project of Orange Line was being carried out by the Sindh government.

However, two key components of the project — supply of buses and an automated ticketing system — are to be supplied by the federally-administered SIDCL.

Sources in the Sindh government said that the federal organisation had already made the payment for the procurement of 20 buses for the Orange Line and the cost of the automated ticketing system.

However, they said, the status of the buses was still unknown and despite almost completion of its structure, the authorities were not in the position to predict the launch date of the service.

When contacted, Mr Memon, who recently got the additional portfolio of transport, said he would take up the matter with the federal government for early supply of buses and the automated ticketing system.

“I would talk to Mr Ahsan Iqbal [Minister for Planning and Development] so he takes it up with the SIDCL,” he told Dawn. “We are almost ready. Our 98 per cent job is done. I am visiting the route and site tomorrow [Saturday] with my team. I hope the federal government would look into our request seriously and make early supply of 20 buses for the route possible.”

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2022

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