On October 25, travellers in Lahore will be able to take, for the first time, the Orange Line Metro Train, Pakistan’s first metro since the Karachi Circular Railway had closed its operations. The landmark project, part of the wider China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, will start operations in the provincial capital in two days, ensuring state-of-the-art commuting facilities for the citizens.

The whole construction of this project has not been a smooth one and there have been endless delays and losses. The project had been delayed to legal action expressing concern that the Line might be a possible threat to heritage sites in this historic city. There have also been reported labour concerns with the OLMT workers. The project has also been subject to many political controversies, with different political parties alleging delay or losses because of the other.

Nevertheless, after six years, the project has finally been completed and now the public should be allowed to reap its benefits. The government is ensuring Rs5.5 billion subsidy would be given on the project annually since it estimates that the Line will save public money worth Rs60.4 billion per annum, as over 88 million people (245,000 daily) are expected to use the facility. Indeed there is a big demand for affordable public transport in this city, and it is expected that the public will respond positively.

Yet it must be remembered that the Line does not connect the whole city. It connects Raiwind, Multan Road, McLeod Road, Lahore Junction Railway Station and the Grand Trunk Road. In the project initially proposed in 1991, which was eventually shelved, there was a Blue Line and a Purple Line, which were 24km and 32km lines covering Chauburji to Township, and links to the Airports, respectively. This plan should be kept in mind, as on their own, these standalone projects are not the answer to greater connectivity in the city. All major urban centres need transport infrastructure that connects the city adequately.