A complication that a new government has to face is the question of what to do with the existing projects and schemes of the past ruler that it once criticised. For the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) government, a tricky issue is to decide what to do with the infrastructure projects started by the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), particularly the Punjab Metro Bus Project.

The federal cabinet Thursday decided to hold an audit of three metro bus projects executed during the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. According to the Information Minister, Fawad Chaudhry, Lahore metro bus earns Rs 917 million annually and the Punjab government has to pay Rs 4.2 billion subsidy every year to run the project. There are similar statistics with the Islamabad Metro and Multan Metro project.

With an audit in the works, and no guarantee of renewal of funds, the fate of further subsidies to the Metro Project hangs in the balance. For now, however, the federal government has decided not to comment on finality about the continuation of the Metro project and has decided to leave it up to the Punjab government.

The Lahore Metro Bus project, when it was introduced by the PML-N government in 2013, was condemned by the PTI opposition for not providing inherent change, and for over-spending on the Punjab budget. However, five years later, the daily ridership of the Metro-bus exceeds 180,000, and is projected to rise by 222% to 20,000 in 2021. PTI must take into account the popularity and necessity of the Metro Scheme before it decides to take such a decision. Regardless of politics and even finances here, the metro projects cannot be shut down. Much has been invested and they provide cheap transportation to thousands on a daily basis. A forward looking public transport system is necessary in our sprawling cities.