KARACHI: Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan, has population of nearly 24 million, yet it lacks a planned transport system. It still does not have a mass transit system to fulfil the transport needs of such a large population, whereas Lahore and Islamabad have developed metro buses. With such a rapidly increasing population, the demand for public transport has also been mounting.
When Qingqi rickshaws began operating in Karachi, they were very attractive and became popular because they were relatively cheaper than other modes of transport and accessible in areas where buses or regular rickshaws usually did not travel. With the ban on Qingqis, many of the drivers lost their source of income. The Supreme Court has now finally lifted the ban and allowed Qingqis to operate once again on the city’s roads — with the condition that fitness certificates are obtained and safety measures are taken. Furthermore, unregistered Qingqis will not be allowed on the road. This is a great step as many jobs that were lost and money that was invested in these Qingqis can now be recovered. Eventually, employment conditions for former rickshaw drivers who were out of jobs will also improve.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2016.