Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has announced that the provincial government has approved Rs 2b subsidy to allow as many as 600 new public transport buses to operate in Karachi. The subsidy has been granted in view of the growing demand for public transport in the metropolis.
Shah made the announcement in a meeting on inter and intra-city bus services at CM house. Among the many officials who attended the meeting were Transport minister Nasir Shah, Planning and Development chairperson M Waseem, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Transport Secretary Taha Faruqi and Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi.
In addition to adding 600 new buses to the public transport network, Bus Rapid Transport would also be launched later, the transport minister revealed.
The government vows to assist the transporters with subsidies for a period of five years, the CM added. “The government will give a subsidy of Rs 2b to be distributed through Sindh Modaraba (a Sindh Government owned company)”, The debt-equity ratio would be 70:30, he stated. 70pc of the vehicle cost is to be paid by the Sindh government via subsidy. Meanwhile, the transporters’ equity would be 15% and the remaining 15% would be given by Sindh government in the form of an interest-free loan, repayable within a year.
The transport department also proposed an intra-city transport system similar to the intercity project. In this regard, the Sindh government would bear the cost of insurance of the vehicle, through the Sindh Insurance Ltd and this would amount to about 5pc of the value of the vehicle.
It was also notified that only locally assembled cars would be financed. Also, if the transporter managed to repay instalments on time and maintained the vehicle and made all the dues and met obligations, the Sindh government would let go of 15% of the cost of the vehicle.
Regarding the Blue Line BRT, the transport minister Nasir Shah said that the track will be 12 km long stretching between Al-Asif Square and Golimar. The project will include 9 stations including five stations on 6.6 km long elevated tracks. Around 375,000 people are likely to benefit from the project.
The CM directed the transport minister to begin work on the projects as soon as possible. The CM vowed financial as well as administrative support to the transporters.