Govt introducing People’s Bus Service project to deal with transportation issues

Mayor has been taken on board, says transport minister


Syed Ashraf Ali October 16, 2017
RTA’s focal person Zubair Ahmad told The Express Tribune the department had not received any formal complaint over the increase in transport fares. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Apart from the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects, several schemes are under way to elevate the transportation system in the province. The federal and provincial governments are funding these projects.

Talking to Express News, Transport Minister Nasir Hussain Shah said that based on public-private partnership, the People’s Bus Service project is being introduced in the city, and for this purpose, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar has also been taken on board.

The transport minister added that the provincial government has allocated funds of Rs2 billion for the project, which will be paid in the form of subsidy in the next five years. With this project, 617 buses will start running on several routes of the city and the first fleet of buses will be introduced by the end of November, said Shah.

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For the new buses, tenders will be accepted on a first come first serve basis. According to the plan, 70% cost of new buses will be covered by a soft loan which will be provided by the Sindh Modaraba Limited while the remaining 30% will be shared equally by the Sindh government and the transporters. The transporters will be required to repay the loan in five years and will also pay for 5% rental charges while the Sindh government will pay for 30% credit risk guarantee and 5% for the buses’ insurance, among other areas of expenditure.

The transporters will also be entitled to a 15% waiver for making timely loan payments and offering better services.

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Karachi Development Authority will be the shareholders in the new bus service. Decisions for the routes, terminals and several other matters will be reached through consensus. All laws of the Motor Vehicle Act will be strictly implemented on the bus service. There will be uniforms for drivers and conductors, and tickets will be issued to the passengers.

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The buses will travel on as many as 30 routes, which the authorities will decide. The government is also trying to ensure that the fares of the bus service remain in the range of Rs10 to Rs30. A committee comprising representatives of the Karachi Transport Union and Sindh government - each with four members - has been formed to decide the minimum and maximum fares.

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