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Only 165 of 446 bus routes functional in city, govt tells SHC

KARACHI: While there are hardly 6,000 public transport vehicles to cater to the 23 million or so people of the city, only 165 of the 446 routes of buses, minibuses and coaches are functional, it emerged on Saturday.

The provincial government’s transport and mass transit department filed a detailed report in the Sindh High Court stating that about 51 per cent commuters used public transport in the city that generated 23 million motorised person trips on a typical weekday.

A two-judge bench was hearing a constitutional petition of Faisal Bangali and other concerned citizens against the relevant authorities for failing to enforce the ban on the movement of heavy traffic on roads during the daytime.
Common man suffers long commutes in poor quality vehicles

The report said that travel was fundamental to almost all human activities, while Karachi, with a population of above 23 million and conurbation of 3,500 square kilometres, is the largest cosmopolitan city of the country.

According to the Traffic Demand Forecast Study for Karachi, the city generates 23 million motorised person trips on a typical weekday, about 51pc of which were using public transport. Therefore, the provision of an efficient and reliable public transport system in Karachi was essential.

However, the same has to be coupled with eco-friendly procedures, because the growing number of vehicles on the roads was not only causing ever-increasing noise and air pollution in the city, but also wastage of time and increase in vehicle operating costs to its taxpayers. Additionally, it was resulting in greater government resources being spent to meet the increasing travel demands of the citizens by developing more and more infrastructure.

The report said that the situation was further aggravated as around 900 to 1,100 vehicles were being inducted on the city roads daily, making the registered vehicles over four million comprising over 40pc motorcycles and an equal percentage of cars that plied on the city road network of over 10,000 kilometres.

It said that the land use pattern of the city was such that commercial and industrial activities were concentrated along a few corridors which created congestion and frequent traffic jams.

The report said that the location of low-income residential areas were such that commuting time was long and shortage of good quality reliable public transport services and failure of the existing local rail service was a cause of hardship for the common man.

It said that the main reason for little or no induction of new buses by the private sector for over three decades was high capital cost and lack of credit facilities.

The report said that the present government taking cognizance of the situation deemed it proper to take action to streamline the public transport system in Karachi, defining a priority action plan to introduce the Bus Rapid Transit System.

It said that the provincial government was fully committed to the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway project and the PC-II for the consultancy of the project had already been approved.

The report said that at present there were 446 classified routes of buses, minibuses and coaches in Karachi, but only 165 of them were operational.

Heavy traffic ban

The petitioners said they were perturbed by the present deteriorating situation of traffic in the city.

They stated that the apex court had passed an order directing the traffic DIG and the municipal authorities to immediately stop heavy vehicles from plying on roads in the daytime to maintain smooth flow of traffic. Subsequently, the city commissioner also banned the movement of heavy traffic from 6am to 11pm for three months.

Nevertheless, they complained, heavy traffic was still freely plying on roads during the specific timings, taking a heavy toll on smooth flow of traffic and posing an imminent threat to the lives of people, the petitioners lamented. They said the respondent authorities were bound to enforce the court orders for the improvement of traffic and safety of the public, but they had miserably failed to discharge their duties and implement the orders.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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