Karachi’s public transportation system right now is a complete mess with no proper infrastructure available for general public to commute comfortably. The current condition of vehicles that are being used right now is extremely detrimental to the safety of commuters and a complete overhaul of buses is required to ensure safe travel. In the light of this genuine concern, a Chinese firm, Eco-Bus has come up with a proposal of injecting $600 million in the public transportation of the metropolitan city.
A six-member Chinese delegation led by Thomas Wang met Mayor Karachi, Wasim Akhtar, to discuss the project in which the firm plans to provide 2,000 electric buses in order to solve the public transportation woes of the city. The project is being viewed as a breakthrough in public transportation as it aims to provide high quality buses that won’t create any noise or contribute heavily to the air pollution in the city.
The Chinese company has come up with a few alternatives in order to kick-start the project which includes investing in and operating the electric buses on their own. Another option that was given by the delegation to the mayor was to work in a joint venture with government or local transporters operating the fleet of 200 vehicles. The last option involved the role of city government in selling the buses and taking care of everything else incidental to it.
Before starting the project, the Chinese delegation said that they will be gifting two buses to the city government so that they can test run these buses on the roads of Karachi and train the relevant staff like bus drivers, mechanics, and others about electric buses accordingly. As there are no electric buses in Pakistan, the staff needs to be trained in order to operate these buses. The two buses are expected to reach Pakistan in the next two months.
Another issue that the government might face is of the charging stations. In foreign countries, there is proper infrastructure in place to charge electric cars and buses, but there are no such stations available in Pakistan. In order to counter this problem, Wasim Akhtar said that 500 charging stations would be built on different locations and each bus would have a range of 280 kilometers on a single charge.
Currently, Karachi Metrobus project is also under construction with a dedicated route of 109 kilometers, facilitating 350,000 riders on daily basis.