8 snags likely to hit Karachi’s Green Line bus rapid transitby Oonib Azam
The funds have been approved and the consultants have completed their homework but there are some snags that are likely to hit the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – Karachi’s very own metro bus that will breeze through Surjani Town all the way to Guru Mandir.
The Green Line will not only bring modern buses for the public-transport-starved city but it will also bring segregated lanes for these buses for commuters to cover the distance in a short span of time.
The project is estimated to cost Rs16 billion and is being funded by the federal government – the funds were announced in the budget for the financial year 2015-2016. Out of the 17.8 kilometre (km) stretch of the Green Line BRT, 9.92km will be elevated and 7.88km will be on ground. There will be 21 stations along its route.
The government has hired a consultancy firm, EA Consultants Private Limited, to carry out surveys and prepare the designs for the BRT. According to EA Consultancy’s architecture director Khawar Ghani, the Green Line will have two kinds of bus stations – on ground and elevated. All the stations will have the facilities of an elevator and will be friendly towards persons with physical disabilities. “We have special designated spots for people on wheelchairs,” he said, adding that the entrance for the BRT bus will be on the same level as the station so it will be easy to roll into the bus on a wheelchair. “There won’t be any step up or step down,” he explained.
Ghani shared that the Green Line route will have 21 stations that are roughly one kilometre, or 800 metres, apart. Each station will have a passing lane for another bus to overtake in case the one ahead of it breaks down, he added.
Each bus will stop for approximately 90 seconds at each stop and it will take two minutes to travel between each station at a speed of 50km/h, said another officer at EA Consultancy. “Everything will be controlled through a central command,” he said, adding that they have estimated that 4,000 people will be using the buses every hour.
The project will formally kick off in mid January and the infrastructure will be completed by the end of 2016, assured Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Limited’s (KIDCL) chief financial officer Bilal Memon. KIDCL has been formed by the federal government specifically to handle the Green Line project in Karachi. Memon added that the Green Line BRT will become operational by June 2017 as the infrastructure will have to be handed over to the Sindh government once the construction is complete.
Before the project kicks off, the authorities can look into the following trouble spots that urban planners and transportation experts have identified where the project is likely to hit roadblocks.