KARACHI: Public transport system in the country particularity in industrial hub Karachi is not up to the mark as a result not only commuters are suffering but economic activities and production are also being hit hard.
According to economic experts there is a direct relationship between better public transport system and economic growth. International Transit Studies Program’s (ITSP) research, conducted last year, has found that public transportation system is the foundation for economic growth. A research study conducted in United States also found that investment in mass transit is a key to economic growth and job creation.
President All Karachi Industrial Alliance Mian Zahid Hussain said that in all progressive and economically established countries excellent public transport systems are the hallmark which proves that without better transport facilities, the goal of economic prosperity could not be achieved.
Everyday a large number of Karachiites use public transport to go to work but due to unavailability of better public transport their commuting work and back home is a matter of tormenting for them.
According to government statistics, in Karachi, 45 commuters compete for one bus seat, while there is no Mass Transit System in the city.
In the morning and evening time when people go to work or return home it is very difficult to find a seat in bus and they are compelled to stand inside buses, sit on their rooftops or hang in the doors in a risky way.
“Many industrial units in Karachi are facing shortage of skilled workers while due to traffic problems large number of workers reach late to their workplaces which affect and reduce production of these units which is harmful for the national economy,” Hussain added.
“Womenfolk are suffering the most as a large number of women and girls cannot do job despite great desire and need only due to the worse public transport system in the city,” said Ms Rubeena Khanim, a human rights activist. She added that better public transport would increase number of working women significantly which would help decreasing poverty in the country.
Muhammad Faisal, a branch manager in a private bank, said that better public transport would not only save time of workforce but also have very a positive impact on their performance. “Due to the poor transport system in the city even 15-20 kilometer travel particularly in rush hours makes you physically mentally tired even if you have your own convince,” he said and added that it directly affect one’s performance at workplace.
President Karachi Tajir Itihad, Atiq Mir said that public transport issue was a big issue in Karachi which is also affecting trade activities, particularly in the old city areas where many big markets are located. He urged Sindh government to speed up work on mass transit and Karachi circular railway projects so the public as well as traders community could at least enjoy a respected commuting.
Transport and Mass Transit Department Sindh was claiming that it works with a vision to provide safe, reliable, comfortable and affordable means of transportation to public of the province, but so far no solid steps have been taken towards a better public transport system.
When contacted, an official at the office of Sindh Minister for Transport and Mass Transit said that different projects of mass transit, including Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) Yellow Line, Red Line, Green Bus Service and Karachi Circular Railway System were under consideration and soon ground work would be started on some of them.
However, Director General Mass Transit Cell Fazal Karim Khatri said that all these projects were yet limited to paper work. He said that ground work could be started on Yellow Line Project within six months and the project would be completed in 18 months.
To a question, he said that if any big hurdle was not faced all four Bys rapid projects would be completed within present government’s tenure. He said that all stakeholders including transporter were on the board about mass transit projects as government wants to adjust present transporters into modern transport system.
President Karachi Transport Action Committee Ashraf Banglori when contacted said that so far government had not taken the transporters on board regarding mass transit projects; however transporters would fully support the government to modernize public transport system.