Pakistan improving facilities for commuters with China’s help: Planning Minister
by Shafqat Ali
KARACHI, Sept 20 (Gwadar Pro) - Pakistani Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said on Sunday afternoon that Pakistan was improving the facilities for commuters with the help of China.
Speaking at a news conference here, after receiving 40 Chinese electric buses, the minister acknowledged China’s role in development of the transport system in Pakistan. “The government is for the first time introducing a modern transport system in Karachi. Another 40 more buses for the Green Line Project will reach Karachi next month. The commercial operations of these buses will start within two months after the installation of relevant software and training of drivers, while the tracks and stations had already been completed,” he stated. Asad Umar informed that 54 kilometers of roads were being constructed in Karachi and the approval of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) will also be given soon.
Asad Umar told the gathering that the Green Line BRTS was a modern technology-based transport system, comprising a 22-kilometre dedicated corridor aimed at providing easier mobility and catering to the travel needs of 135,000 passengers per day.
Umar revealed that Prime Minister Imran Khan was expected to perform the groundbreaking of the KCR project himself. “KCR will initially provide transport facilities to 450,000 passengers daily, gradually catering to the needs of up to one million passengers,” he remarked.
Giving details of the new buses, Sindh Infrastructure Development Co. Ltd. (SIDCL) Chief Executive officer (CEO) Nadeem Lodhi shared that the fleet was low entry 18 metre Articulated Diesel-Hybrid self-charging technology which benefits the environment. “The buses are equipped with Modern Intelligent Transport System (ITS) with features such as automatic location system, real-time passenger information, surveillance cameras and auto doors,” he elaborated.
He explained that the fleet offers comfortable modular seats, air-conditioning, digital screens and space for advertisement and was designed to cater to people with special needs. “The buses will also benefit the environment by reducing the use of fossil fuels, limiting emissions and with reduced journey time,” he pointed out.
Lodhi said following port clearance, the buses would be transported under the supervision of a Chinese technical team to the dedicated bus depot located in Surjani Town. The fleet will then commence training sorties on the corridor by mid-October after an "intense period" of technical reviews, inspection, and classroom driver training, he added. Following User Acceptance Testing (UAT), the Green Line's commercial operations will start by the end of November.
The dedicated corridor will serve some of Karachi’s most populated areas, covering Surjani Town to Gurumandir and Numaish Chowrangi in phase 1. “The second consignment of 40 more buses is expected to reach in October 2021, and phase 1 of the project would be made operational by the end of November,” the Governor further said.
Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Aminul Haque on the occasion told the participants that the federal government was working on various welfare projects for the people of Karachi. “The government is committed to facilitating citizens. China has been supporting us in all sectors,” he recognised.
This article originally appeared on Gwadar Pro.