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Govt to bring in 200 luxury buses in Karachi in 60 days

Karachi

May 12, 2019

The Sindh government has announced the expansion of intra-city Peoples Bus Service in Karachi by bringing in 200 luxury air-conditioned buses in the next 60 days in collaboration with a renowned South Korean transport firm.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Sindh Transport Minister Syed Awais Qadir Shah said an agreement had been signed between the Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA) managing director and an official of South Korean firm Daewoo to expand the Peoples Bus Service being operated in Karachi.

The transport minister said eventually 1,000 buses would be brought in to expand the bus service. He added that the first fleet of 200 air-conditioned buses would be brought to Karachi in the next 60 days; whereas, 800 more buses would be introduced later.

At present, a fleet of 10 buses is being operated under the bus service mainly on Sharea Faisal, connecting Dawood Chowrangi in Landhi to Merewether Tower.

The same South Korean firm has been operating buses on the existing route of the Peoples’ Bus Service. Shah informed media persons that 40 intra-city routes had been identified in Karachi that were up to 15-kilometre long, where new buses would ply. He said similar intra-city bus services would also be launched for the other towns in Sindh as well.

The minister maintained that new buses in the city would not harm the interests of the existing public transport services in Karachi. He said the new buses would be CNG-hybrid passenger carriers and they would not be affected by the unavailability of CNG.

He said by expanding the Peoples Bus Service, the Sindh government had negated the impression that it had been ignoring Karachi. “It is utterly wrong to assume that people of Karachi are being penalised as the [Pakistan] Peoples Party didn’t win [the polls] from the city. This big development is indeed good news for all of us,” he remarked.

To a question, Shah said the railway service in the country would not be run in a proper manner till the time Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was its minister.

He alleged that the federal railways minister was in the habit of backtracking on his statements several times in a single day.

“The Sindh government is on standby to remove encroachments from the land of the KCR [Karachi Circular Railway] whenever Sheikh Rashid issues the NOC for the purpose. Sheikh Rasheed should come here as we are ready to work together,” Shah said.

The transport minister said he saw little chance of Green Line Bus Rapid Transit service being built by the federal government in Karachi getting completed by the year 2020.

“The Sindh government will not shut down other bus services in the city for the sake of the Green Line service,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government had been acting upon its manifesto to generate employment opportunities for the masses.

A senior official of the Daewoo service in Pakistan, Shaharyar Ahmed Chishti, said they had finalised the business model for running the fleet of luxury buses on roads of Karachi and the operation of buses would soon start.

It is worth mentioning here that the SMTA is set to expand the Peoples Bus Service without the involvement of public funds and equity, and without any subsidy and funding support.

The SMTA had invited proposals for the purpose from transport firms through a newspaper advertisement published in January this year.

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