The city is facing a shortage of approximately 13,000 public transport buses as per the World Bank recommendation. This was disclosed at a briefing given by the Sindh transport department to the caretaker Minister of Finance, Revenue, and Planning & Development Muhammad Younus Dagha at his office on Thursday.
The briefing’s focus revolved around addressing the pressing need for a robust public transport system in Karachi, as highlighted in the World Bank report, which recommends the acquisition of some 15,000 buses for the metropolis.
Presently, a total of 1,029 buses operate in Karachi encompassing both public and private sectors. These include 240 buses of the People’s Bus Service, 100 buses under the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, and 689 oldmodel buses operated by the private sector. A feasibility study is currently in progress for the acquisition of an additional 500 buses.
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During the discussion, the caretaker minister emphasised the importance of fostering Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to bridge the substantial gap in public transport system in Karachi. He urged the development of modalities to facilitate easy loans for private operators looking to purchase buses. He also stressed the need to maintain a minimal mark-up rate on loans for the private sector’s acquisition of new buses.
The transport department proposed the establishment of an endowment fund to provide soft loans to experienced local transporters for the procurement of public transport buses. Additionally, there is a proposal to deploy these buses on various routes, ensuring a practical and sustainable scheme.
In conclusion, the participants agreed that these initiatives, including soft loans and public-private collaboration, would empower local transporters to acquire new buses with government support. This, in turn, would enhance the quality of public transport services in the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th2023.
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