“Even though the country’s economic situation is not good, private-sector companies are investing in the city’s transport sector, which is a very positive step. Therefore, the Sindh government will do everything possible to facilitate these companies,” he added.
Speaking to reporters after the formal launch of online transport service Airlift, Shah said Sindh was going to be the first province to enact legislation in order to bring all online transport services within the legal jurisdiction.
He added that it would be implemented soon after approval of the Sindh Assembly, but in the meantime, online bus transport services could continue to run.
“Legislation for the online transport companies will be business-friendly so as to encourage more investment in the sector,” he said.
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Clarifying the government’s stance, the provincial minister said online ride-hailing services were not being discontinued and the Sindh government was keen to provide better travel facilities for the people. “We assure the private companies, which provide this service in Karachi or other cities, that they will receive all possible support from our government,” he said. “These companies are doing our duty as comfortable and accessible transport is the government’s responsibility.”
Quashing rumours that the provincial government had plans to discontinue the online transport service, he said, “We encourage these transport companies so that they can bring maximum facilities to the public.”
In 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan promised that the federal government would buy and operate buses on the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route. “We are waiting for the federal government to fulfil its promise and start the BRT route,” he added.
Responding to the criticism on his party’s performance, the minister said, “There is an impression that the Sindh government is not doing anything in Karachi, which is not correct as many mega projects of mass transit are in the planning phase.”
He acknowledged that the projects should have been planned 10 years ago, however, it was being done now. “In collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), next year we will begin construction work on the Red Line bus project, which is the world’s first bus project to be operated through environment-friendly biogas.”
Moreover, the government was working with the World Bank to launch the Yellow Line bus project, he added.