#SurkhiAnalysis: Pakistan’s major urban centers are finally executing much needed Public Transport projects, which in most cases were originally planned in the 1980-90s. However, among criticisms like poor accessibility, inefficiencies and environmental degradation, the cost of these projects has been the subject of recurrent debate and comparisons.
Surkhi gathered data from the Planning documents of 4 major Public Transport projects being executed or currently operational. Each project consists of a main Dedicated Corridor for 12 meter & 18 meter long bus fleets, along with multiple Stops/Stations and other required facilities. Additionally, these projects are accompanied with schemes such as Roads, Underpasses, Parking Plazas and Interchanges.
When compared, the PeshawarBRT project comes as the most costly, but KP government has made repeated pledges to make the project more cost-effective than other similar projects. These pledges are yet to be fulfilled, while the loans taken from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and French Aid Agency (AFD) will also have to be repaid after a short-grace period and the project has already crossed its original completion date.
The Karachi GreenLine, which is the first part of the planned 110 KM network of the KarachBRT, is the least costly of all the projects. However, the project is also off-schedule and may require a subsidy to operate.
The oldest such projects, Lahore and Islamabad/Rawalpindi Metrobus, while already serving hundreds of thousands of commuters daily also require heavy subsidies to operate, which the new PTI govt plans to reduce
Altogether, Pakistan has lagged behind such developments and may require considerable time to learn and adapt accordingly. Furthermore, policymakers will have to adopt policies such as vehicle limitation, peak-hour surcharges, etc, for road transportation to encourage citizens to use Public Transport in order to fully utilize them.