A state of the art metro bus system – brand new and unique in Pakistan – should make every Lahori proud of their city today.
A lot has been written and said about this system. And as is the case with almost everything in Pakistan, the points of views are poles apart. Many people regard this project as a major infrastructure breakthrough, while many call it excessive and useless.
More often than not, both sides have politically affiliated, if not motivated, line of reasoning.
I do not have a political affiliation. I have also not personally researched much on this project. Hence I will not endeavor to put forward my own take on it right now. I will, however, attempt to summarize the arguments I hear from both sides, and will point out some obvious flaws in both sides of arguments, wherever i can. Maybe this stirs up some constructive conversation on this mega project on this site. (i.e. if many people still visit this site!).
So lets start with arguments against this project:
a) It is excessive. Lahore doesn’t need such an elaborate transit system. Just some investment in usual buses would have been enough.
Flaw in the argument: For a city of almost 1 Crore people, no investment in infrastructure can be termed ‘too big’… we desperately needed good infrastructure and commute system. Agreed lahore is already much better off than rest of the cities in Pakistan in terms of roads etc. but that doesn’t mean we cannot/should not do more.
b) Money spent here could have been used for education, healthcare, anything else.
Flaw in the argument: Infrastructure is as important as other necessities. It is the backbone of the economy. Also, while everyone has limited funds, a choice in basics (which includes infrastructre) cannot be termed as a wrong choice. e.g. what would you do with good education, when you cannot provide a robust economy to your educated people to prosper in.
c) Maybe some corruption?
Flaw in the argument: I don’t know. No strong supporting argument / evidence has been put forward (at least I haven’t come across any) in this front.
Arguments in favor of this project:
a) It will modernize Lahore.
Flaw in the argument: Obviously it will not. Just one transport system alone wouldn’t do the trick, specially if many other basic necessities are not there yet, including energy/electricity, law & order and not to forget cleanliness.
b) The project will make Lahore an economic hub
Flaw in the argument: Lahore already is an economic hub in the region. While the project makes things easier, it wouldn’t suddenly spur new economic activity from near and far. THAT will happen only if a wholesome economic program covering all the bases is launched
c) The project makes lahore commuting easy and cheaper
Flaw in the argument: Yet to be seen; how much burden these busses will / can take. Would it move some segment of population away from private cars to busses? Would the busses continue to run efficiently. Would the project be managed well?
Too early to make a final call… Any comments?