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CPEC’s train to benefit public

CPEC’s transport project ‘Orange Line Metro Train’ (OLMT) is all set to liberate the common public from daily commute miseries once and for all next week.

This might be the first people-centric project of CPEC that will have spontaneous and direct effects on the lives of the common man suffering from travelling woes in Lahore, the highly-urbanised city of Pakistan.

Pivoting on the most congested and populated areas of Lahore from Ali Town, Allama Iqbal Town, Samanabad, Chuburji, McLeod Road, Lakshmi Chowk, Nicolson Road to Dera Gujran, the metro train will facilitate more than 250,000 passengers daily. The beneficiary number will increase up to 500,000 soon.

Promising a new way of transportation, free from traffic traps, orange train service will curtail travel time and ease out traffic congestion and gridlocks. Cutting travel time from two-and-a-half hours to 45 minutes, it will run at 80km per hour covering a distance of 27km with stopovers at 26 stations along the route.

As time is drawing closer for official roll-out, the train will soon be sighted running on elevated tracks, and the general public looks to be thrilled and electrified. Visualising state of the art transportation facility like in London, Paris, Dubai and others modern cities, a hand-pushed cart man unleashed his abrupt feeling saying “I do not know about CPEC. If the metro train is one of its reflections, I am sure that CPEC will set the stage for immersive progress benefiting each and every one.”

One motorbiker Ghulam Sabir shared his feeling that he had to travel daily from Singhpura to Thokar Niaz Baig for his work and it took more than one hour to reach there with being exposed to pollution, dust, sun and top of the long traffic jams. “If metro train journey is just 45 minutes and affordable, believe me, I am going to enjoy paradise,” he said.

Obviously, a promising public transport system lays down social benefits by saving time and space. According to the Marchetti principle, on an average person does not prefer to travel more than an hour a day. Thus, a transport system that provides the speed that saves time and is accessible for the commuters would ensure less dependence on cars. Hence, rail transits cities serve this purpose. CPEC’s metro train service has been developed on same lines.

However, showing scepticism a female student Faiza Hameed held the opinion that though all sounded good, nonetheless such mega projects often lose their shine soon as with the passage of time government lacks interest in maintenance.

The metro train is going to transform the commuter’s experience. helping Lahore and its people embrace smart cities

OLMT will not only provide best transportation facilities rather will help reduce traffic congestion, save travel time, contribute to a greener city by dropping pollution due to a lower number of vehicles on road and bring about employment opportunities.

According to Gallop Pakistan big data analysis series, in the absence of transport infrastructure, in the past 15 years, there has been a 268 percent increase in the total number of registered motor vehicles in the country. Motorcycles (2 wheels) have increased by a significant 439 percent.

“Developing countries across the globe including Pakistan face a transport crisis characterised by congestion, mobility problems, environmental pollution, noise, traffic fatalities and injuries. The most common factor contributing to the transport problem in developing countries is rapid population growth resulting in increased urbanisation that subsequently translates into travel demand. While on one side demand for travel is escalating, the supply of transport infrastructure and services remains inadequate. Resultantly, existing facilities are over capacitated. Additionally, in developing countries, private automobiles grow at an exponential rate compared to public transport which further adds to the transport problem. In India, during past years, the number of buses quadrupled, while motorcycles increased 16- fold, cars increased 7-fold and good vehicles 5-fold. Therefore, public transport accounts for a very small share of total vehicles.” Gallup Data says.

OLMT has a lot of inspiration from international researchers to make it a success story. Gallop research seems to have hinted at its significance talking about a transport system comprising of heavy rails to save space. It said that freeway lane has a carrying capacity of 2500 people per hour, bus lane 5,000 to 7,000, light rail line 10,000 to 20,000 while heavy rail line has a carrying capacity of 50,000. Therefore it is highly imperative to establish rail systems; rails require 20 times lesser space than cars.

A research journal titled “transportation problems in developing countries Pakistan: a case-in-point has also pointed out transportation issues and demanded to establish more mass transit system.”

Everyone recognises that, in today’s world, transportation is a key element of the global economy. It has changed the face of employment, trade, family life and health care, bringing benefits that were unimaginable 100 years ago. However, the price we are paying in form of road crash mortality and morbidity for such benefits is too high,” it mentioned.

The shock and grief these events cause are all too well-known throughout the world. Their impact is particularly higher in poorer countries, where 90 percent of the road fatalities occur. It is widely acknowledged that transport has a crucial role to play in economic development.

More specifically, it has been recognised that the provision of a high-quality transport system is a necessary precondition for the full participation of remote communities in the benefits of national development.

Urban transport problems in Pakistan are managed by building larger and better roads. By contrast, the principles of sustainable transport encourage using low-cost public transport that could perform well in mixed land use and high-density Pakistani cities.

In my opinion, metro train is going to transform commute experience helping Lahore and its people to embrace smart cities benefits. Being first-of-its-kind the mass rapid transit system launched at the cost of $1.6 billion (Dh5.8 billion) in May 2014, metro train service is driverless and a fully automated. It is designed to offer modern, safe, swift and affordable transport facilities to Lahorities.

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