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Karachi local government and Karachi issues

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Here i will post some academic research papers which highlight Karachi local governance and some of the issues which are also highlighted there



The free transport policy and the emergence of the minibus

Responding to the transport crisis in Karachi

Responding to the transport crisis in Karachi Author(s): The Urban Resource Centre, Karachi, Arif Hasan and Mansoor Raza International Institute for Environment and Development (2015)

In 1971, the government introduced what is known as the ‘free transport policy’. This policy was introduced because there was an increasing demand for transport from the various katchi abadis developing on the then periphery of Karachi, while government transport only functioned on the main corridor of the city. Under the free transport policy, any individual who could purchase a bus could apply for a route permit. A route permit was for a particular route identified by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) of the government of Sindh. This process has created what is known in Karachi as the ‘minibus’.

Individuals (sometimes more than one) acquire a bus. Since most of those who purchase a bus are not wellto-do, they go to a moneylender.
The moneylender takes a down payment and then recovers the cost of the bus in monthly instalments. If the purchaser defaults, the bus is taken away from him and he loses his investment. The moneylender is officially the owner of the bus until the purchaser has made the full payment (KMTC/CDGK 2006). Most of the moneylenders are from the Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa (KPK) Province, so they prefer to lend to persons from their region or its adjoining areas. As such, the majority of minibus owners are Pathans or Hazarawalls. Motor rickshaws were also purchased through loans from moneylenders who were also from KPK and its adjoining areas. As such, most of the nformally financed public transport vehicles are owned or operated by one ethnic group.

The cost of a 35-seater minibus in 2000 was Rs one million. However, the purchaser had to pay twice this amount over a two to three-year period. Minibuses were purchased as opposed to large buses because the cost of a large 100-seater bus, at Rs 6 to 8 million, would be unaffordable to the purchaser and also the fare, as a result, would be unaffordable to the commuter.
13 Yet all the formal and informal players in the transport drama who were interviewed for this study agree that large buses are the proper solution to Karachi’s problems. Large buses are comfortable, people can stand in them and so they can have a capacity of up to 82 persons, they are cheaper to run per passenger and occupy less road space per passenger. The minibus has a 32-person capacity, standing in it is very difficult because of the low ceiling height, and it is very difficult to get on to it as well, because of the height of the footrest from the ground.

The process of operating a minibus is as follows: i) purchase of the minibus; ii) register it as a commercial vehicle with the excise department; iii) acquire a fitness (roadworthy) certificate from the police; iv) get a route permit from the RTA; and v) operate the bus. In this process, over 20,000 minibuses have been registered in Karachi over the years.14 To operate a bus, the bus owner or driver/conductor has to join one of the transporters organisations. The one that embraces all of them is the Transport Ittehad. This organisation protects the commercial interests of the transporters and through it they present their claims and guard their gains, and negotiate the rate of informal payments they have to make to a corrupt police force. Because of continuous conflict with the state on fare-related issues, and with the public on their ‘poor service and unreasonable attitude’, they are often referred to as the ‘transport mafia’.

The system has many different arrangements between the various actors in the drama. One is the individual who has a route licence from the RTA who makes an arrangement with the bus owner to operate a route. Very often the owner of the vehicle operates it himself. He carries a high risk since he has to pay the route owner, the money-lender, bhatta payments to the police and all the running, maintenance and repair costs. To meet these requirements he has to work long hours, maximise profits and cut costs. This results in overloading and poor levels of vehicle maintenance (KMTC 2006).

There are some cases where bus owners have both a route permit and a number of buses. They acquire the services of a driver and conductor team to operate their buses. This is not formal employment as the driver conductor team are paid a percentage of the daily revenue they bring in. In this arrangement the owner, to save costs, hires uneducated and often illiterate, staff to operate his bus (KMTC 2006). This lowers the quality of service.

The method of operation of transport described above is legal. However, there is also an illegal system which the government agencies allow to operate. This illegal sector comprises of buses operating without a route permit. The origins of the illegal sector go back to 1985 when a speeding minibus crushed a university student to death under its wheels. The driver was a Pathan and the victim was an Urdu speaker. The accident resulted in ethnic riots between the two communities and a number of minibuses were burnt. As a result, the government decided not to register any more minibuses. However, the ban has to a large extent been overcome by slightly changing the design of the minibus and naming the new product as a ‘coach’. It is estimated by bus owners that the number of illegal operators is less than 200 buses. It is also important to mention here that although there are 329 minibus routes in existence, only 111 are in operation.15 The reason for the inoperative routes is that they are not considered lucrative by the transporters.

It is generally considered that the informally financed transport sector in Karachi is anarchic and disorganised. However, the drivers have a strict timetable, implementation regulations, fixed locations for parking their vehicles, and an organised regime which determines the relationship between the different actors in the transport drama and with the police (Maher 2014a).

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Karachi has Public transporation based on the sindh govt model for ''kutchi abadi transport'' of 1970s
 
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Fate of the CNG Green Bus

Karachi CNG Buses (UTS) - Urban Transport System/Services

CDGK reneges on introducing new CNG buses

Contrary to high expectations the year 2006 failed to bring any visible relief for millions of Karachi commuters, and in fact, they felt a bit betrayed as the pledge of city administration to bring the first tranche of the promised 8,000 new CNG buses on city roads by December 2006 proved a hype instead of hope.

The issue of solving chronic public transport issue in Karachi through introducing wide-bodied CNG buses is not new issue as efforts in this regard could be traced at least half a decade back.

In fact, the last city government administration could rightly be termed the pioneer of introducing wide-bodies CNG-run buses as well as the Urban Transport System (UTS) system in Karachi in 2001.

The transport and communication department of CDGK under Naimatullah Khan some half a decade back had invited bids for operating CNG buses with special operating subsidies, CNG at half the price of diesel, sales and import duty exemptions and concessions for installing CNG refuelling stations. It also planned converting half of existing city buses on CNG.

Naimatullah Khan had envisaged bringing some 10,000 environment-friendly CNG buses in Karachi in two phases. During the first phase, work was started on bringing in 500 CNG buses.

Naimatullah Khan successfully persuaded the federal government to waive off import duty and sales tax on the import of these buses as a special case. His administration also offered various incentives under UTS for transporters included subsidy on loan mark-up at the rate of 6 percent on non air-conditioned large-sized buses and at 9 percent on large-sized air-conditioned buses.


It is said more than 300 such buses were brought on Karachi roads. These UTS and Karachi Public Transport Scheme (KPTS) buses include 32 AC long buses of Sweden Bus Company, 28 AC buses of Green Bus Company, 30 non-AC buses of World Wide Enterprises, 30 non-AC buses of Allied Bus Service, 28 non-AC buses of the Green Bus Company and 197 non-AC buses of Metro Bus Service.

When the CDGK witnessed change of administration, the plan of former City Nazim Naimatullah Khan regarding the CNG buses were also affected. In fact, in a statement in March 2006, he decried that due to lack of attention of the new administration, some 40 percent of UTS route buses had been shifted from Karachi to other locations, and the package of 500 UTS buses was put on the back burner.

In fact, the new city government did not ditch the issue of CNG buses, as like Naimatullah Khan, the new City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal also saw solution to the public transport issue in bringing wide-bodied CNG buses. His plan also included gradual phasing out of worn-out buses and ultimately getting them replaced with 8,000 new CNG buses in the next four years.

According to his plan, the first tranche of these 8,000 new CNG buses would reach Karachi by December 2006.

Besides bringing the first tranche of CNG buses by year end, it was also said that the federal government would offer Rs 4 billion assistance to help the local transporters to get these buses imported at subsidised rates.

The CDGK, in its budget for the current fiscal year, earmarked Rs 500 million for a detailed study for an environment-friendly public transport system for Karachi under private-public partnership. They hoped that in the next four years the metropolis would finally get rid of atmospheric pollution caused by smoke emitting old vehicles, which would be replaced with 8,000 CNG buses.

City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal recently visited South Korea and it was said that Hyundai was mulling over setting up a bus manufacturing plant in Karachi. Notwithstanding, hectic efforts of the CDGK to solve this issue, it was a bitter fact that the Karachiites saw promise of bringing the first tranche of new CNG buses in the year 2006 going up in smoke.

It is undeniable fact that it is not population but the standard of civic facilities that gives status of urban metropolises to cities. Karachi may rightly be claimed as the seventh largest city of the world, but if assessed on parameters of modern public transport system - both road and rail-based - it seemed a mediocre and messy Third World town.

Due to lack of a proper public transport system, millions of Karachi commuters are forced to travel daily in crowded, shabby and smoke-emitting vehicles in a manner which could not be termed anything but civilised and dignified. The dreams to become a hub of trade and commerce of the region with such a shabby commuting system are just daydreams. The authorities have to take this matter seriously if they really wanted to solve problems of Karachi commuters and make this city a modern urban metropolis in a real sense.

Responding to the transport crisis in Karachi Appendices

In 2001, when the city district government was formed, they introduced Urban Transport Services. I was part of that plan too. The entire scheme was approved by the Sindh cabinet. The 70 per cent loan mark up of that scheme was supposed to be subsidised by the government to the extent of 6 per cent. Above 6 per cent was to be paid by the operator and below 6 per cent was to be reimbursed by the government. Then work began on this scheme. 300–350 buses were inducted and finance came from the banks. The government did not continue its patronage. To date no subsidy has been given to the operators involved in that scheme. We had to file claims for the companies. A few companies are still running their buses. They are around 12 in number and being run on Shahra-e-Faisal. The government of Sindh constituted a committee and we filed claims for two companies. We verified their operations and completed the entire process and forwarded the claims to the finance department for a refund. But this was all in vain. When we launched this service the diesel prices were Rs 19 and now they have increased exponentially. The fares remain the same. The UTS buses exited from the system. In fact, they have exited from Karachi. We wrote letters to the Punjab government that these buses are part of the Karachi scheme and should not be running elsewhere. But our requests were of no use. This project failed badly. Everywhere in the world, public transport is being subsidised by the government. In fact, this is happening in Lahore as well! A rapid bus system is being subsidised by the government. Keeping this in mind, the federal government approved a project of 4,000 CNG buses for Karachi as well. Initially it was approved as a policy in 2007. It was decided that 2,000 buses were to be given to Karachi and the remaining 2,000 were to be given to other large cities in Pakistan. The debt ratio was 80:20 instead of 70:30. The remaining model was the same as UTS. They had a fix subsidy for this project that 6 lac will be given as a per capital cost to the operator. Then local banks were instructed to extend loans to the operators. The National Bank was approached first. They refused to provide loan services because of the past experience of UTS of non-payment of instalments in a timely manner. The matter was taken to the highest level but remain unresolved. Then in the regime of Mayor Mustafa Kamal, he suggested that a pilot project should be initiated to fill the gap of transport to demonstrate that we can make it work. A model was developed that the buses will be procured by the government and outsourced to the private sector. Also, the operators will only be responsible for the operation of the buses so that they will have no relation to the fares and finances. For fares an e-ticketing system was to be introduced which a separate private company would handle. For CNG, we directly contacted CNG stations. We directly paid the CNG stations, the responsible staff used to verify the CNG filling in the vehicles and we would pay money accordingly. Our policy clearly stated that the fare revenue will not be sufficient to meet the operating expenses and the government had to subsidise to the tune of Rs 5 million per month. It was subsidised for two years and the service continued. We had e-ticketing systems, e-ticketing booths with closed doors and comfortable services, and the system continued. But there came a time where the city government was unable to deliver the funds then there was no other option but to reduce the operating cost of the buses. We then had to close the e-ticketing system and introduced conductors in the buses. This resulted in over-loading as we couldn’t control the number of passengers. It went out of our control. The revenue also decreased. We had a checking system in place and we evaluated and concluded that there was a 10 per cent leakage in the revenue generation from the conductors’ side. But despite this there was an off-set. We tried to minimise it as much as possible. Then when the time came to change the tyres of these buses after four years, repair the engines of a few, the contract of out-sourcing had also changed by that time. None of the private operators participated in the maintenance of the buses. We invited tender but no company came forward. This was in February 2013. Since then these buses are parked in one place. We tried hard to get funds to maintain these buses and resume the service but we have had no support. We have sent a proposal but they haven’t responded.

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Karachi CNG Buses (UTS) - Urban Transport System/Services


Contrary to high expectations the year 2006 failed to bring any visible relief for millions of Karachi commuters, and in fact, they felt a bit betrayed as the pledge of city administration to bring the first tranche of the promised 8,000 new CNG buses on city roads by December 2006 proved a hype instead of hope.

The issue of solving chronic public transport issue in Karachi through introducing wide-bodied CNG buses is not new issue as efforts in this regard could be traced at least half a decade back.

In fact, the last city government administration could rightly be termed the pioneer of introducing wide-bodies CNG-run buses as well as the Urban Transport System (UTS) system in Karachi in 2001.

The transport and communication department of CDGK under Naimatullah Khan some half a decade back had invited bids for operating CNG buses with special operating subsidies, CNG at half the price of diesel, sales and import duty exemptions and concessions for installing CNG refuelling stations. It also planned converting half of existing city buses on CNG.

Naimatullah Khan had envisaged bringing some 10,000 environment-friendly CNG buses in Karachi in two phases. During the first phase, work was started on bringing in 500 CNG buses.

Naimatullah Khan successfully persuaded the federal government to waive off import duty and sales tax on the import of these buses as a special case. His administration also offered various incentives under UTS for transporters included subsidy on loan mark-up at the rate of 6 percent on non air-conditioned large-sized buses and at 9 percent on large-sized air-conditioned buses.


It is said more than 300 such buses were brought on Karachi roads. These UTS and Karachi Public Transport Scheme (KPTS) buses include 32 AC long buses of Sweden Bus Company, 28 AC buses of Green Bus Company, 30 non-AC buses of World Wide Enterprises, 30 non-AC buses of Allied Bus Service, 28 non-AC buses of the Green Bus Company and 197 non-AC buses of Metro Bus Service.

When the CDGK witnessed change of administration, the plan of former City Nazim Naimatullah Khan regarding the CNG buses were also affected. In fact, in a statement in March 2006, he decried that due to lack of attention of the new administration, some 40 percent of UTS route buses had been shifted from Karachi to other locations, and the package of 500 UTS buses was put on the back burner.

In fact, the new city government did not ditch the issue of CNG buses, as like Naimatullah Khan, the new City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal also saw solution to the public transport issue in bringing wide-bodied CNG buses. His plan also included gradual phasing out of worn-out buses and ultimately getting them replaced with 8,000 new CNG buses in the next four years.

According to his plan, the first tranche of these 8,000 new CNG buses would reach Karachi by December 2006.

Besides bringing the first tranche of CNG buses by year end, it was also said that the federal government would offer Rs 4 billion assistance to help the local transporters to get these buses imported at subsidised rates.

The CDGK, in its budget for the current fiscal year, earmarked Rs 500 million for a detailed study for an environment-friendly public transport system for Karachi under private-public partnership. They hoped that in the next four years the metropolis would finally get rid of atmospheric pollution caused by smoke emitting old vehicles, which would be replaced with 8,000 CNG buses.

City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal recently visited South Korea and it was said that Hyundai was mulling over setting up a bus manufacturing plant in Karachi. Notwithstanding, hectic efforts of the CDGK to solve this issue, it was a bitter fact that the Karachiites saw promise of bringing the first tranche of new CNG buses in the year 2006 going up in smoke.

It is undeniable fact that it is not population but the standard of civic facilities that gives status of urban metropolises to cities. Karachi may rightly be claimed as the seventh largest city of the world, but if assessed on parameters of modern public transport system - both road and rail-based - it seemed a mediocre and messy Third World town.

Due to lack of a proper public transport system, millions of Karachi commuters are forced to travel daily in crowded, shabby and smoke-emitting vehicles in a manner which could not be termed anything but civilised and dignified. The dreams to become a hub of trade and commerce of the region with such a shabby commuting system are just daydreams. The authorities have to take this matter seriously if they really wanted to solve problems of Karachi commuters and make this city a modern urban metropolis in a real sense.


In 2001, when the city district government was formed, they introduced Urban Transport Services. I was part of that plan too. The entire scheme was approved by the Sindh cabinet. The 70 per cent loan mark up of that scheme was supposed to be subsidised by the government to the extent of 6 per cent. Above 6 per cent was to be paid by the operator and below 6 per cent was to be reimbursed by the government. Then work began on this scheme. 300–350 buses were inducted and finance came from the banks. The government did not continue its patronage. To date no subsidy has been given to the operators involved in that scheme. We had to file claims for the companies. A few companies are still running their buses. They are around 12 in number and being run on Shahra-e-Faisal. The government of Sindh constituted a committee and we filed claims for two companies. We verified their operations and completed the entire process and forwarded the claims to the finance department for a refund. But this was all in vain. When we launched this service the diesel prices were Rs 19 and now they have increased exponentially. The fares remain the same. The UTS buses exited from the system. In fact, they have exited from Karachi. We wrote letters to the Punjab government that these buses are part of the Karachi scheme and should not be running elsewhere. But our requests were of no use. This project failed badly. Everywhere in the world, public transport is being subsidised by the government. In fact, this is happening in Lahore as well! A rapid bus system is being subsidised by the government. Keeping this in mind, the federal government approved a project of 4,000 CNG buses for Karachi as well. Initially it was approved as a policy in 2007. It was decided that 2,000 buses were to be given to Karachi and the remaining 2,000 were to be given to other large cities in Pakistan. The debt ratio was 80:20 instead of 70:30. The remaining model was the same as UTS. They had a fix subsidy for this project that 6 lac will be given as a per capital cost to the operator. Then local banks were instructed to extend loans to the operators. The National Bank was approached first. They refused to provide loan services because of the past experience of UTS of non-payment of instalments in a timely manner. The matter was taken to the highest level but remain unresolved. Then in the regime of Mayor Mustafa Kamal, he suggested that a pilot project should be initiated to fill the gap of transport to demonstrate that we can make it work. A model was developed that the buses will be procured by the government and outsourced to the private sector. Also, the operators will only be responsible for the operation of the buses so that they will have no relation to the fares and finances. For fares an e-ticketing system was to be introduced which a separate private company would handle. For CNG, we directly contacted CNG stations. We directly paid the CNG stations, the responsible staff used to verify the CNG filling in the vehicles and we would pay money accordingly. Our policy clearly stated that the fare revenue will not be sufficient to meet the operating expenses and the government had to subsidise to the tune of Rs 5 million per month. It was subsidised for two years and the service continued. We had e-ticketing systems, e-ticketing booths with closed doors and comfortable services, and the system continued. But there came a time where the city government was unable to deliver the funds then there was no other option but to reduce the operating cost of the buses. We then had to close the e-ticketing system and introduced conductors in the buses. This resulted in over-loading as we couldn’t control the number of passengers. It went out of our control. The revenue also decreased. We had a checking system in place and we evaluated and concluded that there was a 10 per cent leakage in the revenue generation from the conductors’ side. But despite this there was an off-set. We tried to minimise it as much as possible. Then when the time came to change the tyres of these buses after four years, repair the engines of a few, the contract of out-sourcing had also changed by that time. None of the private operators participated in the maintenance of the buses. We invited tender but no company came forward. This was in February 2013. Since then these buses are parked in one place. We tried hard to get funds to maintain these buses and resume the service but we have had no support. We have sent a proposal but they haven’t responded.
Bro there is only one issue in Karachi. PPP. They will neither work nor will let anyone work.
 

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