Japan Offers to Finance Modern Mass Transit System in Karachi

Pakistan's federal government and Sindh provincial government are close to a deal with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to finance a modern mass transit system befitting the megacity of Karachi with a population of nearly 20 million, according to a Pakistani TV Channel.

KUTC Trains Source: KUTC

The mass transit project will feature modern trains with automatic signalling and telecommunication system. An automatic train control (ATC) system will be set up. The train stations will feature computerized ticketing and vending machines, automated ticket gates and elevators. It will be run by Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC).

Project History:

The $2.5 billion project will revitalize and modernize the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR). Opened in 1964, the old KCR ran from Drigh Road in the outskirts to the center of the city of Karachi. It ceased operations in 1999 after it suffered huge losses.

Efforts to revive it began in 2005 with a feasibility study conducted by Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) completed in 2006. UK-based Scott Wilson Railways was appointed to validate the report prepared by JETRO. Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), which is funding the project, sponsored a final study prepared by Special Assistance for Project Formulation (SAPROF). US-based consultants Louis Berger validated the final report. The progress has so far been slow and halting but it now appears that the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pushing to make it happen.

Project Scope:

The JETRO study has recommended that the project be done in two phases.

Phase I of the project will include a 28.3 km circular section from Karachi Cantonment to a proposed station at Gulistan-e-Johar. About 9 km of this section will be elevated.

Phase II will consist of the 14.8km circular section from Gulistan-e-Johar to the proposed station at Liaquatabad. This section will have two dedicated tracks along the main line. Phase II also includes a 5.9 km airport line from Drigh Road to Jinnah International Airport. This extension will either have an elevated or underground track. Other bridges, culverts and underpasses, wherever necessary, will be constructed for the project.

Project Funding:

Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) is providing the entire funding for the project through a soft loan. The loan is payable in 40 years by the stakeholders of the City District Government Karachi, Pakistan Railways and Government of Sindh. The Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) is planning an international tendering process for the project, which will be awarded on a turnkey basis. The winning contractors will operate it for the first two years of operation.

Rolling Stock:

The new KCR will be served by electric multiple units (EMU) with a capacity to carry 1,400 passengers. The maximum speed of the EMUs will be 100 km/h. About 290 trains are expected to operate daily at six-minute intervals.

Infrastructure Construction:

Proposed Station Design 
The project will include the construction of 19 underpasses and three overhead bridges. About 23 stations are planned for the project. The stations will feature computerized ticketing and vending machines, automated ticket gates and elevators.

The existing KCR has about 22 level crossings. Since the railway line passes through the major commercial areas of the city, these level crossings need to be removed to ensure that trains can operate every 6 minutes. The level crossings are expected to be removed and replaced by underpasses or overpasses.

Economic Impact:

There will be significant positive economic impact of this megaproject. In addition to its obvious benefits for the businesses owned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family, there will be thousands of new jobs created for ordinary Pakistanis during construction and later to operate the system. It will help stimulate Pakistan's stalling economy.

Japan's Interest:

Japan's commercial interest in Pakistan has recently been validated by JETRO survey of Japanese companies doing business in the country. It indicated that Japanese companies have "strong intentions to expand their business for the reasons of “sales increase” and “high growth potential.” in Pakistan. Clearly, the Japanese see significant future potential in Pakistan to increase their economic footprint in the emerging growth market.

Current Status:

The city and the provincial governments have already begun to remove squatters in and around the existing KCR track to begin new construction. Each of the estimated 5,000 affected families is being promised an 80-square-yard newly built home. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing financial assistance for the resettlement project, while the KUTC will give an additional Rs 50,000 in financial aid to each affected family, according to a news report.

Future Concerns:

One of the key concerns is how will the system be managed after the first two years of operation by the turn-key contractors? Will it suffer the same horrible fate as the previous public transport systems have in Karachi? Will it be used to hire political cronies of the ruling politicians? Will it be headed by incompetent and corrupt managers hand-picked by politicians? If the politicians are serious about ensuring a well-run mass transit system in Karachi, they will need to take a page from the Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) system in India.  It is being run very well by an independent professional management team without political interference in its day to day hiring, firing and other management decisions.


It is certainly welcome news that Karachi, the world's fastest growing megacity, will finally have a mass transit system that its residents need and deserve. Let's hope this time it's for real.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Saving PIA, Railway and Education

Politics of Patronage in Pakistan

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan

JETRO 2013 Survey of Pakistan

Pakistan on Goldman's Growth Map

Karachi is World's Fastest Growing Megacity


Riaz Haq said…
Japan's JICA funding Karachi Children's Health Institute:

KARACHI – “The Project for Improvement of Child Health Institute in Karachi” was launched today to mark the start of its construction work. The ground breaking ceremony for the project was held today in Karachi, jointly attended by Dr. Sikandar Ali Mandhro, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Environment, Coastal Development Authority, H.E. Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Mr. Mitsuyoshi Kawasaki, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Pakistan Office.

The Government of Japan provided grant assistance worth 1.423 billion Japanese Yen (equivalent to around Rs. 1.38 billion) for this project which is implemented through JICA.

Sindh Government’s Child Health Institute receives pediatric patients from all over the northern Karachi city, whose population is approximately 4.16 million and that of children under 12 (the beneficiary group of the project) is approximately 1.77 million. However, the existing setup of this institute can provide limited medical services due to lack of facilities and equipment. Patients that require specialized pediatric medical treatment are referred to the tertiary medical facilities which are already overburdened.

At the ceremony, Ambassador of Japan Mr. Inomata said, “Providing high-quality healthcare services is one of the priority areas in Japan’s assistance to Pakistan.” Ambassador Inomata pointed out severe insufficiency in delivery of child health services in Karachi and mentioned, “thus, upon request of the Government of Sindh, Japan decided to provide a grant aid to expand facilities of the institute to deliver improved health services to children.”

Mr. Inomata shared his belief that “investment to child health is investment for the country’s prosperous future. We have to ensure that all children receive proper medical treatment.” He expressed his wish for close cooperation among the Government of Sindh, JICA, all partners and companies involved for smooth and swift implementation of the project. At the end of his remarks, the Japanese Ambassador said, “This Project will further strengthen the existing good relationship between Japan and Pakistan. Our partnership, supported by strong ownership of the local authorities, will surely bring a better future to children and the country.”

In his reply, Dr. Sikandar Ali Mandhro expressed deep gratitude to Japan’s commitment to child health in Karachi.

Speaking at the ceremony Mr. Kawasaki, Chief Representative of JICA said “this grant assistance will enable Government of Sindh to establish 250 bed scale Child Health Institute and procure approximately 500 items of the medical equipment. This Child Health Institute aims to provide advanced pediatric care and establish a strong patient referral system in Karachi City.”

Mr. Kawasaki added “I sincerely hope this new child hospital will contribute to the community for long and serve as a drive for significant improvement for child health in Sindh Province.”

Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Dawn story on World Bank report on infrastructure deficiency in South Asia:

ISLAMABAD: South Asia should spend as much as $2.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2020 to bring its power grids, roads and water supplies up to the standard required to serve its growing population, said a World Bank report on Wednesday.

“If South Asia hopes to meet its development goals and not risk slowing down — or even halting — growth, poverty alleviation and shared prosperity… it is essential to make closing its huge infrastructure gap a priority,” the report said in probably the first analysis of the region’s infrastructure needs.

The report, entitled “Reducing poverty by closing South Asia’s infrastructure gap”, says that “infrastructure deficiencies in South Asia are enormous, and a mix of investment in infrastructure stock and implementing supportive reforms will enable the region to close its infrastructure gap”.

Pakistan should invest $165 billion over ten years in improving infrastructure in transport, electricity, water and sanitation, solid waste, telecom and irrigation sectors, according to the report.

For the required investment in electricity sector of up to $96bn, Pakistan should generate funds through government-private sector partnership, the report said.

The average share of Pakistan in the total infrastructural investment in South Asia is only 12 per cent compared to 79 per cent by India, the report says.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan is a rising star for multi-nationals in frontier markets along with #Nigeria, #Argentina, #Vietnam http://on.wsj.com/1p2g16O

Here's an excerpt of a Wall Street Journal story on Pakistan leading positive sentiments increase among top 20 frontier markets:

The corporate world’s fascination with Africa shows through clearly in the rates of change of sentiment, too. The data compare an average of corporate sentiment for year-to-date 2014 with an average of the results over the full-year 2013.

Four of the five countries with the highest positive change in sentiment are in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as seven of the top 10.

Pakistan, though, is ahead of the pack in terms of the number of companies newly taking an interest in it. Sentiment toward the South Asian nation of 183 million people improved by 5.6 percentage points, putting it ahead of Africa’s rising stars Nigeria and Kenya, which each saw sentiment improve by just over four percentage points.

In absolute terms, though, Nigeria is still the clear leader among the three with twice the number of companies in the index considering investing there. Nearly three in 10 companies have Nigeria on their watch list.

By contrast, Pakistan’s South Asian neighbors Bangladesh and Sri Lanka appear to be losing their appeal, with each seeing the number of companies focused on them slashed by more than half.

Myanmar, which has only recently emerged as a potential destination for investment, saw a similar decline in corporate interest, with a meager 4% of companies including it in their watch list. Companies’ waning interest in Myanmar most likely reflects the realization among executives that the country is far from ready to receive significant foreign investment in most sectors.

Not surprisingly, the country that saw the greatest decline in attention from multinationals was Ukraine, whose 12.5-point decline was almost double that of the next-worst performer, Oman. While financial investors have seen healthy returns from their high-risk bets on the tumultuous central European economy, businesses are looking elsewhere for long-term opportunities.

Overall, sentiment toward frontier markets among the 200 or so multinationals included in the survey declined. All but 14 of the 70 countries covered in the survey have seen the level of corporate interest in them subside since last year.

Mr. Lasov believes the slide is less about the fundamental appeal of newly emerging markets and more about the revived interest in the developed world. “In the past few years, there has been a rebound in developed markets, which has attracted companies’ attention,” he says. “At the same time, companies have looked at the frontier markets and realized that many of them have tiny populations, so to build a business or manage a business in these smaller markets may not be worth the time.”

Riaz Haq said…
Japanese experts have prepared a 2030 plan to improve Karachi’s transport network. This involves the Karachi Circular Railway, six bus rapid transit lines and two mass transit lines. Last year Bahria Town suggested to the Sindh government that it would be happy to pay for the Blue line from Merewether Tower to Surjani Town. It has invited Enrique Penalosa to advise them and their consultant, Exponent Engineering (EE), on the Blue line.
“He will be able to help us with the social and political aspects,” said Ashar Hashmat Lodi, the director of transportation engineering at EE, adding that technical experts need the benefit of that perspective for such projects. “I am extremely hopeful about the Blue line.”

Bahria Town is understandably interested in the Blue line to Surjani Town as its master-planned gated community is located 9km from the Superhighway toll plaza. However, the rules dictate that even though Bahria made an unsolicited proposal, the Sindh government has to open the floor to others and elicit competitive bids. “The draft for the request for proposals is being prepared,” Lodi said. In the meantime, though, EE and Bahria were keen to do their homework, which is why Penalosa was being invited.
Penalosa told The Express Tribune that he is keen to return to Karachi and especially speak on the political and technical arguments in favour of a well-done BRT. He felt that it would be wonderful to visit unplanned settlements and especially see where the city is growing. He recalled his visit to the Orangi Pilot Project where he met the late Perween Rahman.
“I remember Karachi as a city of light and blue skies,” he said in an email. “Karachi also seemed to me an extremely dynamic, creative, passionate city. The buzz of an economy moving, of people working hard, was evident everywhere; the art in trucks, the colours in the clothes, showed a creative city, a city which enjoys beauty and life.” He added, however, “But it also seemed Karachi was not a city with a clear vision of itself in the future…. [I]t was not a city very respectful of pedestrians and cyclists. As many developing country cities, it was not yet a city where it is understood that all citizens are equal and thus a bus with 90 passengers has 90 times more right to road space than a car with one. Karachi needed more dreams for itself, more dreams of pedestrian spaces and waterfronts, more clarity relative to democratic ways of distributing road space between pedestrians, bicyclists, public transport and [private vehicles].”
As mayor, Penalosa rejected proposals to build highways through Bogota, seven of them elevated. Instead he restricted private car use, especially during peak hours, and promoted public transport and bicycle use. He was nearly impeached for trying to get cars off the pavements, where they had parked for decades. It will be his experience in achieving these socially equitable solutions in politically explosive contexts from which Karachi could potentially benefit.
Bahria’s unsolicited proposal comes at a time when there has been a genuine push from several quarters to solve Karachi’s traffic crisis. The prime minister announced Rs17 billion for the Green line last year. The government has been in talks with the Asian Development Bank on the Red line and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has been exploring the Yellow line.

Riaz Haq said…
Business tycoon and Bahria Town chairman Malik Riaz on Thursday announced his plans of building a 54-kilometre expressway in Karachi.

Bahria Town will lend the Sindh provincial government Rs42 billion to execute the project, which Riaz said would be completed in 11-months time. The loan will have a repayment period of 15 years.

The project will enable approximately a quarter million people to travel on the expressway on a daily basis, said the Bahria Town chairman.

Riaz added that an agreement has also been reached with a private company for the procurement of 150 public transport buses for use on the expressway.

Riaz Haq said…
A startling sight in #Pakistan: Fast, affordable, air-conditioned buses #Islamabad #MetroBus http://wpo.st/IY8L0

For hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis, the miserable, sweaty, cramped commute is coming to an end.

Pakistan, one of the world’s fastest-growing countries, has long lacked an efficient public transportation system. Instead, Pakistan’s 180 million residents have jammed onto unreliable buses and vans prone to breakdowns and grisly traffic accidents.

The haphazard transportation system — which sometimes involves passengers riding on the roofs of buses or sitting on top of each other in taxis or passenger vans — has been the butt of jokes here and abroad. But now, in two of Pakistan’s largest cities, residents are enjoying new mass transit options that even commuters in Western nations might envy.

Rapid-bus systems that together cost $700 million are running in Lahore and the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the capital. In both metropolitan areas, more than five dozen air-conditioned buses circulate in dedicated lanes that use new bridges and tunnels to avoid traffic lights. Commuters wait no more than three minutes for a bus, reducing overcrowding while slashing average commute times by half. And at about 20 cents a ride, the heavily subsidized systems are accessible even to the poor.

Riders “feel respected, they feel more at home, and they can commute with dignity,” said Sibtain Fazal-i-Haleem, chief executive of the Punjab Metro Bus Authority, which manages both bus systems. “It’s a step toward modernization, it’s a step toward development, and it’s an improvement we should have done much earlier.”

In 2013, Shahbaz Sharif’s provincial government spent $300 million to open the 17-mile Lahore bus route. Ridership has grown to about 140,000 passengers daily, officials said. Last year, the two brothers pooled provincial and federal money to construct the 14-mile, $400 million Islamabad-Rawalpindi route.

Using a 24-hour labor force, it was built with Dubai-like speed, opening last week after just 13 months of construction. The route includes 24 stations between working-class Rawalpindi and the wealthier capital, where most well-paying jobs and government agencies are located.

Within hours of its launch, residents flooded into the stations. Now, in a country where the average income is just $1,513 per year, the new service is offering a window into how transformational mass transit can be for the poor and middle classes.

The buses feature rechargeable fare cards, screens that show their current location, recorded messages announcing next stops and a cooling system that showers passengers with a final burst of chilled air before they disembark into the hot Pakistani summer.

Sardar Muhammad, 85, emerged from one station carrying a shepherd’s stick.

“I never imagined I would see such facilities in my life,” said Muhammad, a farmer who lives on the outskirts of Lahore. He said he recently learned how to use the system for trips into town. “Traveling earlier was very slow, like using a donkey cart.”

Despite all the glowing reviews, questions remain about whether Pakistan’s chronically cash-strapped governments will be able to maintain the subsidized service.

But Kaiser Bengali, a prominent Pakistani economist, said the cost of the system should also factor in what he expects will be heightened productivity from the workforce.

“They used to have to spend an hour-and-a-half, two hours getting to their office in crowded buses, hanging out of buses,” Bengali said. “By the time they reached their office, their mood was as crumpled as their clothes.”

Riaz Haq said…
#Lahore metro train: #China to provide $1.63 billion loan | Business Recorder http://www.brecorder.com/market-data/stocks-a-bonds/0:/1249721:lahore-metro-train-china-to-provide-$1-63-billion-loan/ …

China will provide a loan of $1.626 billion to Pakistan for Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project, informed sources told Business Recorder. According to sources, Pakistan and China have reached a consensus on the loan amount at a mutually agreed composite interest rate. The officials of the two countries discussed the financial components of the project during the fifth Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) held on November 12, 2015 in Karachi.

According to documents available with Business Recorder, the loan agreement will be finalized subject to approval by competent authorities in the two countries with a view to ensuring the agreed timelines for implementation of the project. The JCC also agreed to explore other alternate financing mechanisms for future CPEC projects. It was proposed that the relevant stakeholders in China and Pakistan should come up with concrete proposals for approval by JCC in consultation with one another.

About Gwadar Port, the documents further revealed that both sides agreed that the meeting of Gwadar Joint Working Group (JWG) should be held at an early date so that projects and other cooperation initiatives are expedited in a systematic way. JCC noted that the issues relating to finalization of bids for the two big projects should be resolved on an urgent basis so that the progress of two small infrastructure projects in Gwadar, ie, East Bay Expressway (EBE) on interest free loan basis and New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) on grant basis are not delayed. The Pakistani side requested that the two small projects should be unbundled from the two big projects and the Chinese side should complete review of the project documents as early as possible and nominate the company in case of NGIA and allow the Pakistani side to continue with the ongoing bidding process for EBE.

Both sides agreed that water- and energy-related projects should be given top priority and processed in a speedy manner by the respective working groups. The Pakistani side requested the Chinese side to fast track the financing for a technical & vocational institute at Gwadar; and the two countries agreed to sign the development of "Gwadar smart port city" master plan at the earliest.

Pakistan suggested that the following projects to be included in the second phase of CPEC list: (i) Solid Waste Management System including Recycling Plant for Gwadar City; (ii) Intercept Drain for Flood Protection and Storm Water Drainage System for Gwadar City; and (iii) Digitization of Land Record of GDA Master Plan (GIS based).

Both sides agreed to support and explore potential business opportunities in China and Pakistan with specific reference to CPEC development initiative. The Pakistani side suggested holding Chinese and Pakistan Products International Trade Expo annually in Gwadar Free Zone to promote its status as an international mall.
Riaz Haq said…
#Japan's #JICA offers to finance #Karachi #KCR mega project for #Metro mass transit. #Pakistan http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/pakistan/276589-japan-offers-financial-support-for-kcr-mega-project.html …

The Japanese government is ready to fund the revival of Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) project in port city of Karachi, Japan's Economic and Development Counsellor in Pakistan, Takashi Harada said on Tuesday.

He said, "it is a mega project of a mega city and Japanese government is still positive for it."

Talking to APP here, Takashi Harada said, his government is positive to support and finance this project.

"We are discussing relocation of people with the government of Sindh province," he said and added, "We need mega support and mega facilitation from the concerned departments for carrying out this project."

It may be mentioned here that making operational the KCR would help in mitigating the sufferings of millions of Karachi commuters as there is huge demand of urban transport in the mega city of Pakistan.

Encroachments patronized by land mafia have been considered a major hurdle in the revival of KCR, but now the railway ministry has allocated 250 acres of land to shift all encroachments from the route of KCR and resettle the squatters on this land.

The revival of KCR would be a gift for Karachiites by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

This may be noted that the KCR has a total route length of 43.24 km out of which 15.68 km is on ground, 23.86km elevated and 2.28km in trench with a 1.42km bridge in between.

The total number of stations would be 24 including 10 on ground, 12 elevated and 2 trench stations. The system would use electric powered trains.

The project will be run by Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) as a public private partnership project under technical assistance from JICA.

The city of Karachi has seven industrial zones which were playing important role in the national economy.

This project would provide more job opportunities to people and their standard of life would rise with the additional income.
Riaz Haq said…
#Karachi's #metrobus Green Line to benefit 400,000 commuters every day. #Pakistan #MassTransit https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/174274-Green-Line-to-benefit-400000-commuters-every-day …

The Green Line project would benefit 400,000 commuters of Karachi on a daily basis, said President Mamnoon Hussain on Saturday.
He was chairing a meeting at the Governor House, where he was briefed on the Karachi Metrobus project, a bus rapid transit system (BRTS) that would be the largest metro bus network in Pakistan upon completion.
The president said that after being successful in Lahore, Islamabad and Multan, the system would now be available to the people of Karachi, who would be provided with modern mass transportation facilities.
The Green Line portion of the metrobus project, which is being funded by the federal government, would be completed by the end of next year, he added.
He said the Centre had provided a wonderful gift in the form of Green Line, as it would alleviate the intra-city travelling issues of the people of the provincial capital.
He added that modes of mass transportation had always been a major issue for big cities, including Karachi, and the issue had been compounded with the rapid increase in population.
He hoped that when the project is completed, it would resolve the vehicular traffic issues that are worsening in the interior parts of the city.
Hussain said the federal government had envisioned this project to provide civic facilities to the masses, adding that the citizens of Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, who use the BRTS, considered it a “blessing”, as it saved their time and money.
He said monuments of cultural and national heritage along the proposed route of the BRTS in Karachi had been taken care of during construction.
He directed Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to personally monitor the project and ensure that it is completed within the stipulated time and required specifications and standards.
He said Karachi was rightly considered the economic hub, as the city’s functioning enabled the functioning of the entire country. “For these reasons, a proposal to install a water desalination plant in the city is under consideration.”
The president later told the media that Green Line would help raise the living standards of the people of Karachi and alleviate their relevant civic issues.

Meeting with governor
Besides development projects in progress, the president discussed Karachi’s law and order issues and the ongoing operation against criminals and terrorists with Governor Justice (retd) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui and CM Shah. They reiterated their resolve to continue the targeted operation until peace is restored.
The governor said the mass transit and the Lyari Expressway projects would help provide modern transportation facilities to the residents of Karachi.
The president said the Karachi Circular Railway project was being included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under the directives of the prime minister.
The CM said the provincial government had been taking important steps for development and progress of Karachi, and mentioned the vital Orange Line component of the Karachi Metrobus project.
Riaz Haq said…
#Karachi's #Lyari Expressway finally completed 8 years behind schedule and over 100% over budget. #Pakistan The Express Tribune


KARACHI: Originally scheduled to be completed in 2009, the Lyari Expressway’s completion has finally been announced in January, 2018. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will inaugurate the expressway’s north-bound track starting from Mauripur tomorrow (Sunday).

Due to the abnormal delay in its completion, the expressway became a symbol of maladministration of successive governments. The project was conceived in 2002 and was scheduled to be completed in 2009. Its south-bound track connecting Sohrab Goth to Mauripur Road was completed earlier and is being use since 2010 but the other track took years to be completed due to remaining work on its 1.6 kilometre portion, which was allegedly encroached upon. Lack of federal government funding was also cited as one of the reasons for the delay.

“Around 99% work was already finished and only 1% [incomplete portion] created hindrance for years. Finally, we have finished it,” Lyari Expressway Project Director Javed Langah told The Express Tribune. “From Sunday, there will be uninterrupted traffic flow on both tracks from Sohrab Goth to Mauripur and back,” Langah said, adding that around 10,000 vehicles are expected to ply on the expressway every day.

It also seems that the project has not been completed in its entirety. Lighting on the expressway has not been completely arranged. “There is a lighting issue which will be resolved soon,” the project director said.

According to official documents, the original cost of the project was Rs5 billion. However, due to delays, it kept increasing over the years. “Now, the total estimated cost of this project, with lighting, stands at Rs11 billion,” Langah said.

The Lyari Expressway is a16km-long elevated thoroughfare which runs along the Lyari River. It is a toll road which allows signal-free traffic movement between Sohrab Goth and Mauripur Road.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's #imrankhanPTI inaugurates #Karachi's much-awaited Green Line bus rapid transit service. Commits to K4 #municipal #watersupply project completion in 14-15 months. #GreenLineForKarachi #Transport #Water https://www.dawn.com/news/1663004

The premier said he was also pursuing the Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme project, also called K-IV, through coordination with Wapda. The project will be approved by next month following which its groundbreaking will be performed, and it will be completed in 14-15 months.

"By Aug-Sept 2023, we will be supplying water to Karachi from Keenjhar lake," he said.

Detailing other public welfare projects that the government is focusing on, the prime minister said the health card scheme was successfully being rolled out in PTI-ruled provinces. "I want to tell the Sindh government that provinces are contributing in it and they must also play their part," he added.

He also called upon the provincial government to reconsider its opposition to the federal government's plan to develop islands near Karachi into real-estate projects.

"Our population is growing. We are building a modern city named Ravi City in Lahore and taking care of the environment there," Imran said. "Pollution levels are also high in Karachi and it is necessary to have a modern city like the Bundal Island project. When we undertake projects, it is better if we do it collectively with coordination."

'We don't just make promises, we deliver'
Earlier, Planning Minister Umar thanked the SIDCL and parliamentarians from Karachi for their efforts for the project. He said the Sindh governor was "supervising" the project since the PTI came to power. In Dec 2020, he said, the SIDCL became a part of the planning ministry and the government started working on the project.

The minister recalled that the project had been approved in 2016, and while the PML-N stayed in power for the next 28 months, the project's infrastructure was not built.

"The order for the buses was also not placed and neither was the payment system designed; the operation and maintenance tender was also not placed," he said, adding that the PML-N only thought about building a track surrounded by grills "with no other facilities available".

"Karachi's rights were not given to the city in the last three of their (PML-N and PPP's) governments," Umar remarked.

Lashing out at the PPP, Umar said the party merely used the name of Sindh, while the PTI-led government actually worked for the province.

Calling Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari an "innocent child", the minister said the PPP chairman had asked for "time" to work for Sindh. "Dear child, 50 years ago your grandfather was made the chief martial law administrator of the president of Pakistan. How much more time do you need?"

He said the party had formed government in the province six times and four times in the Centre, but still had nothing to show for it.

Commenting on the Karachi Transformation Plan announced by the prime minister last year, he said the scheme included five major projects, one of which — the Green Line project — was being inaugurated today. "Commercial operations will begin on December 25 and total operations will start by January 10," he announced.

He said that the second project concerned the construction of stormwater drains in the city, adding that work on the Mehmoodabad nullah had been completed and it would be inaugurated in 10 days. The minister further said 50 per cent of the work on the Gujjar and Orangi nullahs had been completed.

Riaz Haq said…
With 80 buses, Karachi's Green Line becomes fully operational


A new and unknown world of mass transit opened up for Karachiites as the Green Line bus service became fully operational on Mon­day. As many as 80 buses could be spotted moving towards Surjani Town from Numaish and the other way around from 7am till 10pm.

Venturing inside the entrance, you find yourself heading downstairs to a two-level basement. The first level had the ticketing area.

For now one can get tickets in two ways one of which is going to the ticketing booth and pay Rs55 for a ticket for whether you are travelling to the station ahead or to all 22 stations. But another better and economical way is to buy a Rs100 card which can be topped up. As you reach a station to get off, the machines there will deduct your fare as per kilometre of your travelling.

Later, there will be more options for buying tickets.

“You will also have the option of buying tickets through vending machines, which we will be made functional in a week or so. And within two to three months there will also be point of sale or POS machines attached to the vending machines as these can charge you through your credit or debit cards,” Abdul Aziz, the senior manager (bus operation and intelligence transport system) of the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (SIDCL), explained to Dawn.

He said that they had tried to replicate UK’s bus system here.

Telling more about the vending machines at the bus stations here, he said that they are state-of-the-art machines bought from Turkey, which can also accept currency notes.

“The vending machines, when fully operational, will issue tickets as well as top-up cards, which will help lessen human interaction in a Covid environment. Still, the less tech savvy can go to the ticketing booth,” he said.

“There will also be another option of topping up your bus cards through your mobile app, which is also going to begin in a couple of months. Your card will carry a unique ID number that you can enter to top up through your credit or debit card, Easypaisa, etc, right from the comfort of your home,” he added.

Non-fare revenue
He also spoke about minimising government subsidy here. “For this we have worked on non-fare revenue, too. The government can earn from bus fares and from non-fare ways as well such as advertisements. For that we have kept digital marketing inside the buses as well as printed ads,” he said.

Meanwhile, going another level down, you can catch your bus, which stops at the station only for two to three minutes.

But that doesn’t mean that you need to hurry as there is no chance of you ever missing your bus. One bus leaves, and another comes in within three minutes of its leaving.

Getting on the bus from Numaish, which for now is an end as well as start of route station, you notice that there are not many people leaving from there and the buses are heading off quite empty.

“That’s because the pattern is such that most people come towards their business or work area in the morning. Most markets and offices happen to be in the Saddar area and so people are travelling this direction. The rush to the way back home will pick up in the afternoon,” Mr Aziz pointed out.

He also said that SIDCL has a central command and control centre in the Garden area. “Currently, we are doing an origin and destination survey also. In about one or two months we will have data about how many travellers are using our buses and travelling from where. After that we may even revise the bus timings,” he said.

He also shared that for park and ride, they will also be opening up parking spaces from Station 2, which is the KDA Flats station to Station 9, which is the U.P. Morr Station.

“That was you can come, park your vehicle and get on the bus. This is also known as ‘last mile connectivity’,” he said.

Riaz Haq said…
#Karachi Green Line Ridership Stats For First 3 Days! Total 81,000 passengers!! 20,000 travelled on the very first day, followed by 29,000 on next and 32,000 on the third day. #greenlineforkarachi #Pakistan


The Green Line Bus service has become fully operational, 80 buses could be spotted moving around from 7am till 10pm.

The service was fully started recently. Inside the entrance, one will have to head downstairs to a two level basement and will find the ticketing area on a first level. Moreover, one can buy tickets in two ways one of which is going to the ticketing booth and pay Rs 55 for a ticket for whether you are travelling to the station ahead or to all 22 stations.

However, another better and economical way is to buy a Rs 100 card which can be topped up. As you reach a station to get off, the machines there will deduct your fare as per kilometre of your travelling.

During the first three days of the service going fully operational, a total of 81,000 passengers benefited from the service. 20,000 travelled on the very first day, followed by 29,000 on next and 32,000 on the third day.
Riaz Haq said…
Sindh CM inaugurates headquarters of Rescue 1122 in Karachi


Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah inaugurated the headquarters of Rescue 1122 established in cooperation with the World Bank in Karachi on Friday.

Addressing the ceremony on the occasion, Syed Murad Ali Shah said Rescue 1122 service is already working in Karachi, Larkana, Thatta, Sujawal, Qambar-Shahdadkot and Hyderabad districts and from tomorrow it will also start working in Badin as well.

He said that Rescue 1122 emergency service has been established under World Bank Sindh Resilience Project.

The Chief Minister Sindh said that ambulance service, fire service, urban rescue and search service, water rescue service will be provided in Karachi city under this service.

He said that the rescue service will be started at main roads and highways every after 50 kilometers to ensure provision of immediate services to the people in emergencies in the province.
Riaz Haq said…
Sindh government launched Emergency service Rescue 1122 from Karachi 


Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah inaugurated the service.

The service is aimed at providing immediate medical aid to people and shifting them to hospitals in emergencies.

Initially, fifty ambulances have been provided for the service which will be increased to 230 across the province.

The service will be initiated in other Divisions and districts in the second Phase.
Riaz Haq said…
ML-1, KCR (Karachi Circular Railway) upgrade projects to start in March


He (Ambassador Non Rong) recalled that under the CPEC, 192,000 jobs were created, 6000MW of electricity was generated, 510 km of highway was constructed and 886 km of transmission was set up, which laid a solid foundation for Pakistan’s socio-economic development. “In fact, Pakistan’s trade surplus of agricultural products is expected to exceed a record high of $1 billion in 2022,” the ambassador said.

The Chinese sources said the ML-1 is the largest infrastructure project of CPEC worth $6.86 billion. The project involves the up-gradation and dualization of ML-1 to increase the operating speed from the current 60 km/h and 105 km/h to a proposed 160 km/h. The project also involves the establishment of a dry port near Havelian. ML-1, the Karachi to Peshawar line, is one of four main railway lines in Pakistan, operated and maintained by Pakistan Railways. The line begins from Karachi City Station or Kiamari station and ends at Peshawar Cantonment Station. The total length of this railway line is 1,687 kilometers. There are 184 railway stations from Kiamari to Peshawar Cantonment on this line. The line serves as the main passenger and freight line of the country. 75 percent of the country’s cargo and passenger traffic uses the ML-1. The existing timeline for the completion of ML-1 extends to December 2024. Under the umbrella of this project, level crossing will be converted into flyovers or underpasses so that the speed can be increased by getting rid of the obstacles.

The project could not be started during the PTI government due to China’s concerns over debt repayment plan, the sources pointed out. ML-I railway line project is very important to achieve connectivity between Gwadar (Pakistan) and Kashgar (China) through a train track that will provide the easiest and safest way to transport oil between China and the Middle East, saving China travel costs. The railway line upgrade will provide faster travel facilities to the people of Pakistan and commercial benefits like bringing raw materials to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and faster delivery of finished goods to remote areas of the country as well Gwadar port. Another great benefit is that coal will be delivered for fuel to the power plants through the railway track, which will also generate good revenue for the railways. Due to unnecessary delays, the cost of this historic project has increased. The Imran’s PTI government failed to convince the IMF and the Chinese government to start the project. Another reason for the increase is the recent floods in Pakistan, which has destroyed the railway lines of most parts of the country. As soon as the new government was formed in April, 2022, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal restarted the discussion with the Chinese authorities on revival of the project.

The revived KCR operation is intended to become an inter-regional public transit system in Karachi, with an aim to connect the city centre with several industrial and commercial districts within the city and the outlying localities. In May 2017, the then government approved Rs27.9 billion ($120 million) restoration package for the KCR. However, delays and disputes with the Sindh provincial government ultimately led to cancellation of the funding. KCR would be constructed with the cost of Rs294 billion and used by 500,000 passengers/day, which would increase to 1 million in later years. KCR will have 250 modern driverless electric bullet trains, which would run 17-hours a day throughout a week. The KCR project would be run by the Sindh government through Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) and likely to be completed by 2025.
Riaz Haq said…
The newly launched People’s Bus Service in Karachi now allows residents to track buses in real time using a smartphone app.


The Sindh government introduced the app for iPhone and Android users, offering information on bus fares, timings, and other essential details.

It also enables real-time monitoring of the bus service.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon stated that the People’s Bus Service aims to provide comfortable commuting facilities to urban residents.

Additionally, the government has introduced electric and Pink bus services specifically for women passengers.

The People’s Bus Service has been expanded to seven cities within a year, with the Sindh government subsidizing millions of rupees monthly for affordable and uninterrupted mass transportation.

The government’s priorities include modernising mass transit services, such as the environmentally-friendly biogas-fuelled Red Line section of the Bus Rapid Transit Service (BRTS) in Karachi.

A total of Rs 200 billion will be invested in constructing the Red Line and Yellow Line sections of the BRTS.
Riaz Haq said…
Cable cars: An economically viable public transport system in #AmLat cities?


Did you know that in 2004 in Colombia, the Mayor's Office of Medellín inaugurated "Metrocable", the first cable car in Latin America (and the world) that functioned as a means of urban transportation?

Metrocable, in addition to connecting the marginal hillside neighborhoods of Comuna 13 with the city's metro system, demonstrated that cable car technology was viable as a mode of transport in mountainous or hillside urban areas, for distances of up to five kilometers. In the Latin American context, cable car helps vulnerable and predominantly low-income populations living in such sites, improving their urban conditions, and increasing access to job opportunities and other growth opportunities. Following the successful case of Medellín, in several cities around the world this solution was implemented.

The relatively low cost of construction, ranging from US$19 million per kilometer, in cities such as Medellín and Mexico City, to US$32 million in Guayaquil, and its rapid implementation (for example, the 4.1 kilometer Guayaquil cable car took 24 months to complete) have led more than 18 cities, mostly in emerging economies, to opt for implementing cable car systems within their urban transport infrastructure.

In addition to the advantages in terms of mobility, urban cable cars do not take up large surfaces, enabling public entities to provide and improve urban facilities. This generates socio-economic benefits in addition to those attributable to a transport project.

Why choosing this solution?

In the last years, public authorities and private actors have tried to understand business models used for this solution and variables that affect their success.

Faced with a growing interest to implement this system, the World Bank published in 2020 the study "Urban Aerial Cable Cars as Mass Transit Systems. Case studies, technical specifications, and business models". This is the first publication that brings together objective data on 21 urban cable cars projects, both in Latin America and other countries around the world, and includes a description of the main characteristics of the infrastructure, travel demand, and the business model adopted for their construction and operation.

The (World) Bank's analysis documented the cable car-gondolas technology systems, their relatively low implementation complexity, and found that the equipment supplier market (cabins and electromechanical equipment) is dominated by a limited number of European manufacturers.

Given this particularity of the supplier market, the Bank's analysis suggests that a decisive element for the success of these projects lies in the choice of the business model used for both construction and operation. Reviewing the inventory of modern urban ropeways, we found the following business models:

1. The Public works model, which is put out to tender the execution of works, with state operation and maintenance.

The La Paz and Medellín systems are in this category. La Paz has the most extensive urban cable network in the world, with 10 lines, more than 30 kilometers of extension, and an average of 160 thousand passengers per day. Medellín, on the other hand, has a network of 5 lines with about 12 kilometers of extension, and 40 thousand passengers per day.

2. In the PPP - public-private partnership – model, the concession for the service’s construction, operation, and maintenance are in charge of a private entity.

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