Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday inaugurated the intra-district Peoples Bus Service project for Karachi with the maximum ticket price capped at Rs50.
Under the project, around 240 air-conditioned buses imported from China will be plied on seven routes in the metropolis. The Sindh government's Peoples Bus Service is a project separate from the network of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Minister for Transport and Information Sharjeel Inam Memon, Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani were also present on the occasion as the foreign minister unveiled the plaque to inaugurate the service at Fatima Jinnah Road.
The foreign minister also toured the bus to inspect its services and facilities.
Memon said work on other transport projects, such as the Orange Line bus service and the Karachi Circular Railway, would soon begin.
"It will be my request to the people of Karachi to maintain the buses and to not ruin them," he said in a video posted on Twitter by the Sindh Information Department. Memon added that depending on the route, the minimum fare would be Rs25 while the maximum would be Rs50.
If ticket prices need to be hiked, in light of petrol and diesel prices, the government will look at it "conservatively", the minister went on to say. He also "guaranteed" citizens that using the service would cost less as compared to using their personal vehicles.
"The journey will be better and economical," he said.
The inauguration of the much-awaited project coincides with the fast-approaching second phase of the local government elections in Karachi as many believe the PPP-led Sindh government is trying to lure the people of the metropolis by launching projects of public importance ahead of the vital electoral exercise.
A statement issued on Sunday said the bus service would commence its operations on Route 1 from Model Colony to Tower, covering 29.5 kilometres and having 38 stations.
The other six routes include the areas from North Karachi to Indus Hospital (Korangi) 32.9km; Nagan Chowrangi to Singer Chowrangi (Korangi Industrial Area) 33km; North Karachi to Dockyard 30.4km; Surjani Town to PAF Masroor 28.2km; Gulshan-i-Bihar (Orangi Town) to Singer Chowrangi 29km and Mosamiyat to Baldia Town 28.9km.
The Sindh government has allocated a sum of Rs4 billion in its budget for the next financial year 2022-23 for procuring more buses to be run in Karachi under the same project.