Green Line set to start commercial operation tomorrow
KARACHI: After almost six years since its groundbreaking, the federal-funded Green Line Bus Rapid Transit Service (BRTS) is set to become operational with all 80 buses of its fleet ready to shuttle between Surjani Town and Numaish Chowrangi on Saturday.
The mega project suffered many hiccups over the period and the delay caused it to incur almost double the cost.
The fare table is likely to ranging from Rs15 to Rs55 depending on distance.
The confirmation came from a key member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) at the Centre who said that the test run of the bus service appeared effective, smooth and up to the mark. It’s set to start a fully-fledged commercial operation from Saturday, he said.
The key point of the fare and any subsidy for the people of Karachi on the first-ever federal-funded transport service in decades was partially defined.
“It’s going to be operational Insha Allah as announced,” Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar told Dawn in a brief response when he was referred to his two-week-old tweet disclosing the date for the commercial operation of the bus service as Dec 25.
“The fare is actually a subject of provincial government. So whatever is decided by the Sindh government in line with its defined rules, it would be followed. It may be between Rs15 and Rs55 depending on the journey by a passenger,” he said.
In a tweet on Nov 28, the federal minister had announced completion of the project’s first phase and expressed his confidence that it would be ready to operate from Dec 25.
“I conducted a detailed review of the Karachi Green Line project yesterday,” Mr Umar said in the Nov 28 tweet. “This project will be ready for trial operation in the next 10 days. After that Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Karachi for its launch. Insha Allah, the commercial operation will begin on December 25,” his tweet read.
On Dec 10, the project was launched for its “soft and trial operation” by Prime Minister Imran Khan with a limited number of buses plying on the route to check and remove any flaw. The trial, an official said, met with success and no major problem was cited. A few issues were noticed at different stations along the route while passengers boarded and got off the buses. These issues were addressed immediately, he added.
“Some 60 passengers can travel on seats and as many can avail the service by standing in the in the two-portion buses with no rush-like situation,” he said.
“The buses can move at 50 kilometres per hour but in most cases slower speed is recommended. There are more than 20 stations after every few kilometres, so maintaining a high speed is not practically possible. Between Surjani and Numaish points, the passengers would stay one hour or a little over on board, I think, and the time includes brief stopovers at all 21 stations,” he added.
Envisaged and executed in Feb 2016 by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the project was originally scheduled to be completed within a year with an estimated cost of around Rs16.85 billion. However, it took almost six years to complete and the cost has shot up to Rs35bn by now. The project was approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) and executed by the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited.