At the time of independence the Railways constituted the most viable capital asset of the country and were the only intercity public transportation mode inherited from the British India. In first five years plan (1955-60) the Road Transport Board was set up to coordinate the rail and road networks with an intercity passenger ratio of 75:25 respectively. This plan did not propose any extension in railway network however, 1800 miles of new roads were planned to be constructed along with improvement of 2000 miles of existing roads.

In urban areas, motorized traffic was very limited until 1947 and walking was the largest mode of transport followed by the Tanga (horse drawn carriage). Omni bus was operated in the cities of Lahore and Karachi, while tramway provided services only in Karachi.

The second five years plan allocated considerable money to the (West) Pakistan Road Transport Board to introduce 500 hundred new buses in its fleet for intercity public transport. For urban transport, money was allocated to the Karachi Road Transportation for building a fleet of 1200 buses, procuring 700 vehicles in addition to 500 obtained in first plan period.

In 1991, a draft National Transport Policy was published by the National Transport Research Center (NTRC). This policy suggested the adoption of a bus-based Public Transport System, as compared to a rail-based mass transit system, as the preferred urban transport model in the metropolitan cities of Pakistan. The Prime Minister’s Incentives Schemes to Revamp the Public Transport Scheme was initiated by the Government in 1991 with an incentive package to import Taxis, Buses and Mini Buses for an efficient Public Transport System.

In 1996, under Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s development program for big cities, a Mass Transit Project was started in the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The system was based on rail-road mixed mode that contained an urban railing between Rawalpindi and Islamabad connected with Feeder Coasters (Mini Buses) in Islamabad.

In 1998, the Ministry of Communications gave the mandate to the Charted Institute of Transport (now Charted Institute of Logistic & Transport- CILT) for preparing a draft National integrated transport policy. This policy emphasized land use and transport integration to reduce the need to travel and to maximize the accessibility of public transport.


In 1999, the Transport Development Sector Initiative (TSEI) was a joint effort among the Government of Pakistan, International Development Institution (especially the World Bank), and the private sector to collectively develop a Comprehensive Transportation Policy. The TSEI policies were heavily framed by the perception that privatization and deregulation of public transport would bring about a more efficient and cost effective transport.

In 1999, the National Transport Strategy was developed by the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) under the Federal Ministry of Industries and production. The strategy was approved by the Federal Government in 1999 with an intention to attract private investment to the road transport sector.

In 2000s, the Federal Planning Commission prepared a draft transport policy through an in-house process. This policy encouraged the private sector to operate public transport. The 10 years perspective plan and Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF) were prepared by the Planning Commission to be implemented between2001-11. The MTDF stated that the "Development of an efficient Transport System primarily based on buses needs to be linked to mass transit system, with light rail as an option". However, no money has yet been allocated for the recommended public transport system. Source :(Journal of public transportation, Vol-12, No.2, 2009).

Over the last two decades the Government has paid much attention to the development of Transport infrastructure and as a result public is facilitated with motorways, Express way, Indus Highway and rehabilitated Grand Trunk road networks.


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