Karachi needs revival of ‘bus stop culture’

September 6, 2015 Off By Web Desk

Karachi: Veteran citizens of Karachi remember that four decades ago the city used to have proper bus stops in all areas and all public transport buses and vans used to stop their to pick and drop the commuters; however, presently, public transport vehicles could easily stop at any point on busy roads if a commuter waiting signal them to stop. These buses could also stop anywhere, be there a bus stop present or not, if any commuter travelling in these buses intends to disembark there.

Karachi is only urban centre of the world that has no bus stop culture. This unique city in fact has no public transport policy. Its buses are not painted in official public transport colour. Their drivers wear no uniform. Their commuters are not issued bus tickets after charging fare from them. These buses run on cheap CNG but charge fare on the basis of diesel use. In this city taxis and rickshaws do not have any meters and they charge fare at their sweet will. This is the only city of the world where commuters also travel on the rooftops of minibuses. In this city government officials including traffic cops are easily bribed as there is lack of government writ in this metropolis.

Bus stops are made for the safety of commuters and easy flow of traffic on streets. It is a major sign of rule of law and discipline in urban societies.

A bus stop is a designated place where buses stop for passengers to board or alight from a bus. These are normally positioned on the highway and are distinct from off-highway facilities such as bus stations. The construction of bus stops tends to reflect the level of usage. Stops at busy locations may have shelters, seating and possibly electronic passenger information systems; less busy stops may use a simple pole and flag to mark the location and “customary stops” have no specific infrastructure being known by their description. Bus stops may be clustered together into transport hubs allowing interchange between routes from nearby stops and with other public transport modes.

Police and rangers have been carrying out an operation against law breakers of this city for last two years, but they have yet failed to realize that for uphold of law, it is necessary to strictly implement civic laws, especially traffic and public transport rules, as they give loud and clear message that the law enforcing officials are present and working everywhere. If a bus stops on a busy road at any point, if there is no colour code for public transport vehicles, if commuters sit on rooftops of the buses the message is loud and clear that this is an unruly, undisciplined and lawless society, irrespective of the reports and rhetoric of the police, law enforcers and government.

The police and rangers could render a great albeit indirect service to improve law and order in Karachi, if they only manage that public transport buses and minibuses strictly follow the bus stop rule and did not stop at any other place saving a designated bus stop.