An Efficient Mass Transit System is Still an Unfulfilled Dream for Karachites


1947 is the year when Karachi saw a huge influx of emigrants from all over India. In 1947 Karachi population was 450,000 and by 1951 population had crossed one million. In 1950 Karachi improvement trust was established, this institution was primarily responsible for the expansion and management of Karachi city. This trust has given additional responsibility for the management of city transport. But KIT was heavily burdened with the settlement problems of refugees and will not able to make any progress towards the solution of transport problem of the city. Resultantly a new establishment namely Karachi Transport Syndicate introduced and a fleet of 280 buses handed over to this syndicate by the Federal Government. In 1957 the population of Karachi becomes 16 million and city was expanded manifold. Many new housing colonies popped up. So these 280 buses could not solve Karachi public transport problem in any way. By 1957 Karachi transport syndicate was vanished. In 1957 the Karachi administration again made very high plans for Karachi public transport issues and established “Karachi Road Transport Corporation” it is a sort of public private partnership. This corporation brought 324 normal buses and 24 double decker buses on the roads of Karachi. This was the first public transport facilitators who established adequate bus depots with full-fledged workshop facilities but by 1964 this organization became bankrupt due to Un-known reasons.

In 1971 Pakistan was broken and West Pakistan becomes whole Pakistan which compromises of four provinces. Karachi became the capital of Sindh province and transportation became a provincial subject. A brand new organization namely Sindh Transport Corporation S.R.T.C came into being. As Karachi is a mega city a separate division of SRTC was created exclusively for Karachi with the name of Karachi Transport Corporation KTC, the initial fleet of this new corporation was comprises of 2000 buses. This organization could not sustain more than 5 years after that some halfhearted efforts were made by city governments but no integrated system can be introduced for public transport system. For many years Karachites were the victims of Transport Mafia they were forced to travel on the roofs of buses and mini buses. After many years of hardships, now there are some says of lights in total darkness. The first Bus rapid transport system – B.R.T.S, namely green line was started upon the instruction of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in February 2016. This was completed and become operational in December 2021. The length of this system is 18 kilometersand around 140 buses plying in this system.

These buses are hybrid and more than one lakh thirty five thousand peoples are commuting daily. Frequency of buses are one bus after every three minutes. This is the third year of this service and running very successfully. Furthermore in the meanwhile an extended route with the name of Orange Line linked with Green Line the total length of this corridor is 4 kilometer, this corridor will facilitate the passengers of Orangi Town. Orangi Town itself having the population of 2.4 million and the area of this town is expanded around 57 square kilometer.

The second mega BRTS project was announced by the Sindh Government which is called Red Line project. Red Line bus route will start from model colony and will end at tower. Project was physically started in August 2022 and its completion was expected by 2024. Unfortunately construction work is not very smooth and often seems to be halted. Even presently the progress is totally stopped. In these circumstances the completion maybe delayed by a year or so. This project is funded by a consortium which includes Asian Development Bank, Asian infrastructure Bank the French Agency for development and the Green climate fund. The project will comprise of 26.5 kilometer length. This project will directly benefit 1.5 million. Karachites and daily expected ridership will be around 350,000 citizens of Karachi. One more very soothing aspect of the project is that 50,000 fruit bearing trees will be planted across the corridor as a part of project.

Transport & Mass Transit Department of Sindh claims that. It is a zero emission transportation system. As 250 redline buses will be Bio Hybrid buses and will use bio gas as fuel. A bio gas plant is being established at Landhi, adjacent to cattle colony which will provide environment friendly fuel locally produced.

The only thing which is not known that when this project will be complete. However you can see red and white buses in Karachiwhich are running on city’s normal roads. This looks a stand by arrangement by Sindh Government. In total these buses are 290 out which 40 white buses are operated on electric. They can travel up to 240 kilometer on a 20 minutes charge they exclusively use solar energy. Solar energy charging station has already established by Sindh Government. The seating capacity of these buses are 30 passengers with additional space for 40 standing passengers. Unfortunately this electric white buses are now missing from the Karachi roads. It is learnt that 25 out 40 buses are grounded due to technical failure. A new consignment of 160 white EV buses is also reached on Karachi port.

A part from this in the first phase 250 red buses are running on seven different routes and will cover 250 kilometer distance in total. Furthermore two more BRTS line are at planning stage which are called Blue Line and Yellow Line. Blue Line will extended from Merewether Tower in Central Karachi to Baharia Town in North East Karachi at a total length of 30 kilometers.Under the project 357,000 passengers will be able to travel annually. Yellow Line will connect NumaishChowrangi with Landhi and Korangi which are eastern and north eastern parts of Karachi.

Still most of the plans and promises of the Government are not fulfilled and one can see most of the lower income group of Karachites are still sitting upon the roofs of buses and overloaded three wheelers called Ching Chee are still order of the day in this mega city.