Aurat Foundation’s View on the Proposed National Transport Policy for Pakistan

2. Practical Steps To Achieve The Above

2.1  Design of Buses

The bodies of the mini-buses are made in Pakistan. Technical know-how should be applied to improve the design of these buses so as to make them larger, cheaper, more comfortable to sit and stand in and more comfortable to enter and exit. In a phased manner, they should all be converted to CNG so as to minimise environmental pollution. What this entails should be studied.

2.2  Promotion of Railways

The railway system in Pakistan should be enhanced and expanded. Road linkages to it should be created with the necessary passenger and cargo transfer stations and facilities. This will lower energy and transport costs and decongest roads. Pakistan’s main cities have railways passing through them, and in the case of Karachi there is a circular railway. These should be expanded into the suburbs and developed as alternatives to road vehicles. In Karachi’s case, the railway can easily be rehabilitated and extended into Baldia, Orangi, New Karachi and the Landhi-Korangi residential colonies. A tramway can link up the central business district railway stations to Saddar. This alternative is far more feasible and effective than the US$ 668 million 13 kilometer Corridor One of the KMTP.

2.3 Segregation of Through and Local Traffic

City plans should prepare details for the segregation of through and local traffic in cities. This means the development of by-passes at the city level and the shifting of wholesaling, cargo handling, warehousing and industrial activities on to them. It also means creating through-traffic free neighbourhoods and pedestrian areas. This effort will have to determine, through investment in infrastructure, the growth corridors of the city and its future land-use.

2.4 Segregated Bus Lanes

Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi (perhaps also other cities) have exceptionally wide roads. Segregated bus lanes and bus stops can be created in the centre of these roads as opposed to their sides. This has been done effectively in many cities making transport faster and more comfortable. Cross roads can be managed in a manner that there are no interchange points for one kilometer at a stretch.

2.5 Bus Terminals, Depots and Workshops

Bus terminals, depots and workshops do not exist in Pakistani cities. These activities, along with the toilets, resting and eating facilities for the operators, are carried out on the city roads creating discomfort, delays in travel time and confusion for commuters; social and economic problems for the residents of the area; and extra expense and discomfort for the transporters. The building of such facilities is important and it should be done in such a way that hawkers can be accommodated as well. The design of these facilities should be compatible with our sociology and economics and not derived from First World standards.

2.6  Operation, Maintenance and Financial Issues

The transport mess in Pakistan is more the result of mismanagement, corruption, lack of interest, and absence of coordination between various agencies rather than a lack of resources. How this can be addressed is the most important of all issues and a pre-requisite to any physical and or financial planning and investment exercise.

3. Aurat Foundation’s Role

The above paragraphs explain the position of the Aurat Foundation on the transport policy issue. The principles and details are clearly stated. The Aurat Foundation will monitor the development of the transport policy and will keep in touch with the transport group on this issue. It will take the policy to its constituency through its various networks at municipal and district levels all over Pakistan; to its Legislative Watch Groups, allied NGOs, media persons and women from political parties. Aurat Foundation strongly feels that the principles it has set out above are important because structural readjustment, world trade tariffs and the repercussions of the development of a global economy are increasing poverty of which Pakistani women and children are the prime victims. This poverty is brutalising our society, breaking homes and an effective transport policy and its implementation can help in overcoming some of these problems.

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