Lahore Metro Bus Service

Published: February 11, 2013

Metro bus started on February 11. PHOTO: ONLINE

As a general rule, Pakistan’s major cities are badly in need of major public transport projects. The overcrowding, pollution and inconvenience caused by the absence of buses and trains have led to chaos. In the abstract, then, Punjab government’s Lahore Metro Bus Service project, which has now been inaugurated, is a step in the right direction. Modern public transport is the need of the hour in our cities and this was the first concerted project to turn that into a reality. This does not mean, however, that the project should simply be praised and not subject to greater scrutiny. The first issue is one of cost. Although the official cost of the bus service project is Rs30 billion, there are many projections which say it could be higher.

Then there is the question of maintenance. Right now, not all of the 45 buses are in working condition and many of the escalators are not functional. Obviously the provincial government was in a rush to inaugurate the project. With elections coming up, it wanted a major development coup, which would be the bedrock of its re-election campaign. Also, the provincial government should account for all the businesses that were affected by the creation of the bus routes and provide proof that they have been compensated for their losses.

It is unfortunate that even major development projects in Pakistan are carried out on an ad hoc basis. Before the PML-N government came into power in Punjab, the PML-Q had done a feasibility study on creating a light rail system in Lahore. Those plans were scrapped as soon as the PML-N was voted into office. How do we know that a new provincial government won’t do the same after the next elections? The PML-N will also have to answer the charge that most of its development is Lahore-centric. That aside, this should be a worthy public transport model for Pakistan’s other large cities to emulate.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2013.

Reader Comments (11)

  • Feb 12, 2013 - 1:18AM

    What a waste of public money, just before elections to win a few extra votes, is that it? We have had similar public transport schemes in the past that have quickly disappeared from the face of the earth. Let’s see for how long does this scheme last and how well are the buses maintained in a society with deep rooted corruption from top to bottom.

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  • Naveed
    Feb 12, 2013 - 1:25AM

    I do not think Pakistan or Lahore needs this stuff, electric and gas needs to be sorted first . This money could have been well spent on power generation or subsided solar panels to peoples roof tops which can produce electric power for them and the extra they could sell to the national grid.
    Basic necessaities are much more of interest than state of the art bus or train.

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  • Indian
    Feb 12, 2013 - 9:42AM

    As an Indian after looking at these nice buses, today for one day I will say I wish I was a Pakistani :-) Congratulations to Lahorias, one of the stops I see is Model Town. My paternal grandfather was born in Model Town and lived there till age 11 when they had to run away in 1947. He never talks about it but I know he would like to once again visit that huge old mansion they had before he dies if it is still standing… Sad that everything was left behind so they didn’t even have a photo of their villa with them when they came to India in 47…

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  • Fatima
    Feb 12, 2013 - 11:53AM

    I would just like to comment that rather than criticizing we should appreciate the effort by the punjab govt. If PML-Q had plans so why did not they put them into action like Shahbaz Sharif?

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  • Factual Conspiracy
    Feb 12, 2013 - 3:19PM

    Karachi could do with a Mass Rail Transit – the likes of which have been deployed in Tokyo, Kuala Lampur, Singapore and Bangkok.
    But none of that trumps the charge that we could’ve used 30 billion rupees in investing in our universities and hospitals. These 2 projects should be given priority as they can potentially cause the costs of any future Bus services or train services to come down drastically, by developing an relying on local expertise.
    Point to ponder…

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  • pakistani
    Feb 12, 2013 - 3:20PM

    @Kamran Faisal, @Naveed
    can you tell me, if not this then what?
    should we invest on Imran Khan like Pasha did..

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  • popsaeed
    Feb 12, 2013 - 5:25PM

    GAWADAR PORT
    MOTOR WAY
    THUNDER JET
    ATOMIC EXPLOSION
    FM RADIO
    PRIVITAIZATION
    AC BUSES
    BETTER SECURITY SITUATION THEN OTHER PROVINCE
    AND METRO BUS

    and amny more

    OPEN YOUR EYES GUYS

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  • Shehryar
    Feb 12, 2013 - 5:57PM

    Soon the buses will be running on the normal road and the elevated track would be used by officials and ministers for their convoys…. ;)

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  • Muslim Leaguer
    Feb 13, 2013 - 10:07AM

    Another visionary project delivered by PML-N government to the people of Pakistan. PML-N has the record of delivering Motorways network (Khyber to Karachi planned), up gradation of Karachi & Lahore international airports (world standard), Gwadar deep sea port (for mother ships), JF Thunder aircrafts (invincible airforce), Ghazi Barotha Dam (the last hydel power project adding 1450 MW) and making Pakistan the 7th nuclear state in the world!

    Mass transit system is indispensable for all mega cities in the world. I have travelled through mass transit in Japan, Malaysia, Turkey, UK and even India. These projects are indespensable to move millions of people every day, reduce congestion on roads, reduce fuel cost, reduce environmental pollution and multiplicative economic benefits in the form of time & money.

    I remember that there was similar hue & cry by a few pessimist critics when Motorway was being constructed during 1990s. But the economic benefit of Motorway was not understood by these pessimists. In 2005, runaway Dictator General Musharraf raised US$500 Million of loans through issuance of sukuks against the same Motorway.

    While we continue to hear news of target killings & extortions from Karachi, breakdown of law & order in Balochistan, drone attacks on FATA and suicide attacks in KPK there is some good news from Pakistan.

    Instead of wasting nation’s time on unhealthy criticism of visionary projects, why don’t these bunch of pessimist critics criticise those other provincial governments for inaction & failure?

    Living abroad, I desire to visit Pakistan and will definitely travel by Metro!!!

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  • Feb 14, 2013 - 7:35PM

    it will be perfect for Lahor’s public because transportation is very important and it will be too fast than the past.

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  • Yasir farooq
    Mar 13, 2013 - 4:16PM

    **New Project For Metro**

    Thokar Niaz Baig to Jalo Park
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