KARACHI: Public transport commuters can breathe a sigh of relief as the long-awaited CNG-powered green bus service is all set to resume by the coming week, The Express Tribune learnt on Sunday.
Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) administrator Rauf Akhtar Farooqui will inaugurate the bus service at the Surjani Town bus terminal.
"We have tested and repaired 35 buses on a priority basis. They will hit the roads to facilitate the people of Karachi by Tuesday or Wednesday," said KMC transport and communication director Muhammad Athar. He added that in the first phase, the KMC planned to repair 35 buses out of the total 73. These 35 will ply across two routes: one from Surjani Town to Tower and the other from Surjani Town to Korangi. "Because of financial constraints, the KMC could repair only 35 buses. However, all the buses will be on the roads within two or three months," assured Athar.
The green bus service was initiated in 2005, by the then mayor of Karachi, Naimatullah Khan. The service operated till 2007, after which it was suspended. In 2009, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad resumed the service, but it was terminated yet again on April 23, 2013. At that time, the service operated on three major routes: Surjani Town to Safoora Goth, Surjani Town to Korangi and Orangi to Malir. In order to resume the bus service, the KMC administrator visited the Surjani Town bus terminal last month and informed the media that the Sindh government has approved a budget of Rs40 million for the project.
However, the Collective Bargaining Agent union president Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah suggested that the KMC should chalk out a long-term strategy to continue the bus service.
"They should come up with such a system that the bus service becomes capable of generating its own revenue," he suggested. "Otherwise, how will a department that has no money, even for fuel, continue to support the service?"
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2014.