The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a part of the World Bank Group, has offered to become the lead advisor for the Bus Rapid Transit System, which aims to reduce travelling time by half in Karachi.
The IFC’s involvement gives a boost to the Rs2 billion project, which includes a dedicated lane for buses on a vital road for the first time in Karachi. “This is great news for us,” said the head of the city’s enterprise and investment office, Shoaib Waqar. He felt that financial giant’s involvement would lend credibility to the project and it would be easier to raise money.
Under the project, a dedicated lane will be built from Dawood Chowrangi in Landhi to Numaish Chowrangi and Lucky Star via 8000 Road, Korangi Road and FTC. It will be called the Yellow Line.
The bus system envisages large buses running in middle of the road on either side of the green belt. Around 200 buses will run on both sides of the track at an interval of a few minutes. The middle of the road will be dedicated to the buses. New Jersey barriers will be installed to stop motorcycles and cars from entering it.
But many government-sponsored transport projects have come to a standstill. The poor condition of green buses and metro coaches are an example of official apathy towards mass transit. Even this bus system has been stalled for years. Construction of stations in the middle of the roads and management of traffic also remains an issue.
An amount of Rs500 million has also been allocated for the rapid bus transit system in the city’s latest budget.
The Yellow Line runs from Landhi to Saddar and is 22.4 kilometres long. Once it is complete, around 13,000 passengers will be using it every hour. The average speed of traffic in the city is between 14km and 17km per hour whereas BRTS runs at 25km to 30km per hour.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2012.
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