Karachi is the largest metropolitan city in the world without a subway system. The largest revenue producing city of Pakistan is left with a disastrous traffic situation. People of Karachi are facing traffic bottleneck every single day.
The Buses of Karachi
I am living near Karsaz and my current job is at Khadda Market in DHA. The distance is around 15 to 16 KM and in normal traffic it takes about at most 30 minutes to reach either side on personal vehicle. Whereas the buses on this route take hour and a half with just enough chance to get a seat during the route. During the peak hours when most people go to their work the duration between arrival of buses is around 25 ~ 30 minutes and often when they do arrive they are so tightly packed that 3, 4 passengers are hanging outside from the bus door.
Conditions in Buses
I myself have travelled in these dire situations in these buses. Men also start filling seats and area reserved for womens. Fights are common for just about everything like fare, seat, bus stop, women harassment, behaviour etc. The buses themselves are not structurally fit for road either. Broken windows, rusted supports that leave marks on your hands and clothes, not enough height to stand upright etc. Sometime when there is a fault in the bus, they start repairing it right there in the middle of road causing more traffic jams. The drivers often engage in race and they reach above the speed limits causing serious damage to other vehicles. The momentum of this high speed is clearly felt to the passengers in the back.
Alternatives to Buses
The Rickshaw and Taxi fares are also not regulated and there are no meter for fares. People have to negotiate with the drivers who often increase the fare as they like. Government has also banned Uber and Careem for nothing. I know their fares were more than the average but it was convenient for many like females and older people. It is completely impossible for a middle class family without personal vehicle to travel via these buses.
The Roads for Buses
The roads are also not upto the mark with traffic flow. In some places it is impossible for two vehicles to pass alongside. The encroachments eat half roads in some places while the sewage and rain water also causes traffic delay on roads. People long for better situation but when the construction work is somehow started, it becomes a headache because no alternatives are defined and the construction work takes forever to complete. Public safety is also overlooked during these construction works. Dust, rocks and other construction material is spilled over the whole place.
Currently the population of Karachi is around 10 to 12 Million and is forecast to increase with time. How on earth will this infrastructure bear the forecasted increase. I strongly suggest to the concerned departments to start investment where it belong. Flyovers are not forever and not enough to handle the situation. The only other best alternative is underground subway or underground roads. It is also cost effective and comes handy in other situations like natural and manmade disasters.
For more better understanding of why we need it now than ever, read this article from Tribune Blog that suggested this in 2012 and after five years there is still no work on this matter. How long do the people of Karachi have to bear this broken public transport system?