PUNJAB Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif deserves a pat on the back for trying to improve the public transport system in the province. According to a deal signed with a Chinese company, 2000 buses, half of which would be air-conditioned. would be made available for Lahore and other cities of Punjab in various phases. And the good thing is that 53 buses went on road yesterday. Anyone without a private vehicle who ever had to commute in the city would know the state of public transportation at the least, perhaps worse. In a city like Lahore, the absence of an organized system of public transport had been causing great deal of inconvenience to thousands of commuters who had to shuttle between their workplaces and homes, or perform other day-to-day chores. The sight of groups of people, especially womenfolk, standing on almost all the busy bus stands, often waiting for hours before catching a bus would bear testimony to the fact that the city was suffering from shortage of public vehicles. The condition becomes severe during rush hours when many are forced to get on top of buses, risking their lives. This amounts to subjecting the citizens to the worst kind of humiliation. At present, the step will allow the commuters to heave a sigh of relief. One must laud Mian Shahbaz Sharif for providing better civic amenities to the public. It is a pity that the Musharraf regime did virtually nothing to improve the public transport system. Even the Daewoo City Bus Service that was introduced by the PML-N government was discontinued by the Musharraf regime, as it did not induct new buses into service. At present, it is heartening to learn that the PML-N government plans to launch an underground train system in the city as well, which will be a blessing for the Lahorites. Hopefully, other provinces, particularly Sindh, given the situation in Karachi and Hyderabad where the problem has assumed nightmarish proportions, would follow suit and work for providing better transport facilities to the public.