The Prime Minister, on his visit to Karachi, announced that the Federal government would fund Rs. 15 billion of a Metro Bus project in the country’s financial capital. The ‘Green Line’ is the federal government’s answer to a myriad of Karachi’s transport problems, from the basic ones such as the lack of any proper government-controlled public transport system, as well as the rapidly increasing number of private cars in the road causing congestion and pollution problems, and the number of cars, buses and motorcycle-rickshaws that are unsafe, or illegal, vehicles.

The last population census of the city was held in 1998, and set the total population at around nine million. Ever since then, in the past fifteen years, it is speculated that this figure has more than doubled and is roughly twenty million. The PPP in its tenure in the federal government did not do much to improve the means of transportation in Karachi, and gigantic flyovers were their major contribution to the issue. This time, the PPP government in Sindh has allocated Rs. 3.2 billion to construct two bus lines called the green and yellow line, with the latter being a joint venture by the public and the private sector. Any results on the ground remain to be seen.

A city as vast as Karachi needs a transport system that can serve seamlessly, and that extends to all parts of the megalopolis. In the past, money and time was spent on initiatives such as the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), which was shut down in 1999 because of poor management. The federal government and the provincial government need to work together to fix the problem, unless they want the status quo to prevail, and even more cars added to disastrous traffic conditions. This will not be an add-on to current infrastructure. At this stage, with congestion bringing the city to a literal standstill, changes to the traffic landscape have become an absolute necessity.