Green Line gets the green light

January 2, 2022

The Green Line bus service had a trial launch on December 25th. It is expected to be fully functional on January 11

Green Line gets the green light


arachi has long faced serious public transportation issues. The Green Line Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project, which started a trial run on December 25, aims to address these problems. First of its kind in Karachi, the service has been eagerly awaited for years.

Starting with 80 modern buses, the project has started providing transportation facilities to thousands of people in the Central and West districts. They are now travelling in comfortable public transport from Surjani Town to Numaish Chowrangi, paying affordable fare.

The citizens say this is a good initiative to relieve the transportation shortage. Karachi has a population exceeding 25 million but has lacked a reliable transportation system. This project will make it easier for people along its route to go places. However, given that other parts of the city lack such a facility a large proportion of commuters must still rely on other means.

“I have to use public transport every day to go to the university. I used to face several problems while commuting,” Saima, 32, a student, tells The News on Sunday. She says the buses she rode did not have many seats for women, so she would often have to stand. “I travelled on a Green Line bus on December 29. It was a wonderful experience and a comfortable journey,” she says.

“The Green Line BRTS is very good for the people who use local public transport on a daily basis,” she says. She observes that a shortage of transport has been a major issue in Karachi for many years.

Saima says hundreds of women students at universities and colleges rely on public transport to reach their institutions. They often have to wait for long. She hopes that the Green Line service will help improve the daily commute for these students.

Abdul Aziz, the Bus Operations Department director at Green Line Bus Transit tells The News on Sunday that 11 of the bus stations are currently operational. He says 10 stations are still non-operational. “There are remnants from an earlier project. The tracks and stations were badly damaged,” he says.

“A full-operation launch has been delayed by the incomplete work at some bus stations. The renovation of stations, technical rooms, ticketing sections, escalators and lifts will be completed soon,” he says.

“The project is a blessing for the people of Karachi. They will now be able to travel in comfort,” he says. He says the response of the public has been impressive. “The Green Line system will be fully operational after January 11,” he says.

About the fare schedule, Aziz says: “The fare for a one-way paper ticket is Rs 55 per passenger. For those purchasing Green Line BRTS Cards a discount is available. The card is available at the ticketing counters for Rs 100. Once purchased, the card can be recharged with any amount at any time. The minimum fare for a card carrying passenger starts is Rs 15; after every two kilometres, it increases by Rs 2.”

“Thus the fare for the 21 kilometre stretch from Surjani Town to Numaish Chowrangi is PKR 55 per person,” he says.

The buses are operating from 8am to 12 noon till January 10.

“I boarded a Green Line bus from Hyderi Market stop with my husband, my sister and my son to enjoy the ride,” says Mrs Ateeq, 50. “The fares on paper tickets is on the high side. Also, I think the children should be charged half the fare,” she says.

“This bus will be beneficial for people from Surjani commuting to downtown locations in the city,” she says.

Aqeel Anis, 40, says he runs a shop in Hyderi Market. He commutes daily to Bolton Market using public transport. He says it has been very hard travelling by local buses which are often overloaded.

“Today I boarded a Green Line bus from Nagan Chowrangi and reached Numaish Chowrangi in 27 minutes,” Anis says. “I have purchased the Green Line Bus card for Rs 100 and charged it with another Rs 200 to avail the cheaper fare,” he says.

However, Anis says, he had to pay for a Qingqi to reach the bus station. “From Numaish to Bolton Market I had to travel the way we are used to” he adds.

“This is a new service. Most people still do not know about it. I am sure that once it is fully operational people will prefer it over othe transport,” says Aqeel Anis.

The project cost Rs 35.5 billion and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on December 10. It aims to provide a convenient and safe means of travel to up to 135,000 commuters from the West and Central districts of Karachi to access the Central Business District. The 21-kilometre track has 21 stations, ticketing rooms, escalators and stairs equipped with backup generators to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

There are separate doors on the buses for the elderly, women and families. An 18-metre-long air-conditioned diesel bus carries up to 150 passengers. Vending machines have been installed at each bus station for the convenience of passengers. The buses have cell phone charging ports and carry fire and safety equipment.

The project has been sponsored by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives through Sindh Infrastructure Development Company (SIDCL).

This BRT project was first announced by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government in July 2014. On February 26, 2016, the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, had laid the foundation stone for a 17.8 kilometre track from Surjani to Guru Mandir. Work on the project remained suspended for several months after his resignation from the office.

The provincial government has also announced plans for an Orange Line, a Red Line, a Blue Line and a Yellow Line to resolve the transportation issue and connect the entire to a mass transit System. The Sindh Mass Transit Authority, will look after these projects.

The Orange Line is a four kilometres track from the Orangi Municipal Office to Board Chowrangi. The 30-kilometre Blue Line will extend from Merriweather Tower to Bahria Town via Jahangir Road, Liaquatabad and Shahrah-i-Pakistan. It will also connect with Sohrab Goth and M-9 (Motorway) to Hyderabad. It will be a private project sponsored by Bahria Town.

The Red Line will connect Central district to the eastern suburbs via Numaish Chowrangi, Mazar-i-Quaid, University Road and Malir Halt. The Yellow Line will connect Numaish Chowrangi via Korangi and Landhi. It will terminate at Dawood Chowrangi. It will cost $428 million, of which $382 million will be provided by the World Bank. All these projects await detailed planning and paperwork.

The paper work on Orange Line is at advanced stage and the government has already ordered the buses to be imported from China. The company operating the Green Line will also operate the Orange Line service.

According to the World Bank website, the Karachi Mobility Project (KMP) aims to improve mobility, accessibility and safety along selected corridors. It will also finance urban road infrastructure along the Yellow Corridor.

A key focus area is providing safe transport for women’s mobility. The yellow corridor will start at Dawood Chowrangi in the East, runs through the Korangi industrial area, and end at Numaish (city centre). It is one of five priority lines in the city’s transport plan.

In a media appearance on December 29, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, a spokesperson for Sindh government, said that the transportations problems in Karachi would be resolved soon. “The Sindh government is purchasing 240 buses to tackle the transportation problem in Karachi, ‘’ he said. He said 50 of the buses will reach Karachi by January 31.

The writer is a freelance journalist based in Karachi. He can be reached on Twitter @Zafar_Khan5

Green Line gets the green light