Governance woes: Public transport buses exempt from color coding

Karachi: Karachi is the only mega city of the world where public transport buses have impunity from observing bus color code that is the basic requirement of public transport rules. Though, there are rules that no public transport bus could ply on road unless it is painted as per official bus color code, but due to poor governance and corrupt bureaucracy no one cares about these laws.

Public transport is the most neglected sector in Karachi and millions of commuters of this city which is termed ‘political orphan’ city as its ruling political parties have a poor track record of resolving its civic issues face immense problems and humiliation while commuting like sheep and goat in overcrowded minibuses, where they have to even perch on their roof-racks, putting their lives and limbs in danger.

To streamline and regularize public transport is the dominion of Sindh transport department, whose reputation historically is not good, and commuters openly blame this department is formed to take care of the interests of private transporter mafia of Karachi instead of its commuters.

Despite prolonged cry of the Karachiites, the provincial government of Sindh has still to resolve the issue of public transport in the capital city of Sindh, which is also backbone of the provincial as well as the national economy.

Even two decades back, all wide-bodies buses in Karachi used to be painted in red color, all minibuses and vans in bright yellow and white color, and all taxis and rickshaws in yellow and black, but then the governance style was better and corruption level in transport department low. Presently, no one cares about the color code of public transport vehicles. The transport department officials say they have already instructed the public transporters to paint their buses and minibuses in official color code. However, the private transporters say they cannot not afford the cost of painting their buses and the government should fund them to do this job. In Karachi mostly old buses and minibuses discarded from other provinces, especially Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa are brought and run on the road. In Peshawar and Lahore, engine fitness laws are very strict and no one could dare to run old and road-unfit public transport vehicles there. These junk-class buses and minibuses painted in different colors are brought to Karachi where there is no law to govern the public transport, sans the law written in books.

Citizens have requested the Sindh transport department to implement official color code of the public transport vehicles of Karachi in public interest. If all public transport buses, minibuses, vans, taxis and rickshaws are painted as per official color code it would give the city a disciplined and civic look, which this mega urban city truly deserves.

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