New green bus system in Karachi

Based on the Technology Needs Assessment, Pakistan is building a Bus Rapid Transit system in Karachi, to increase mobility, lower emissions and reduce pollution.

June 5, 2023

Pakistan is introducing an innovative hybrid bus fleet and green fuel production as well as last-mile connectivity in a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Karachi.

The busses will run on biomethane, and the entire system will be implemented based on priorities in Pakistan’s Technology Needs Assessment and the following action plan supported by UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre.

Pakistan has the highest rate of urbanization in South Asia, and Karachi, with a population of over 20 million, as the largest city in the country and 12th largest in the world.

Read more stories about how the TNA project drives climate action forward.

Paving the way for emissions reductions and cleaner air

Taking the climate and environmental challenges associated with rapid urban growthinto consideration, Pakistan focused on the transport sector, and in particular on BRT, when joining the TNA project.

In 2017, Pakistan completed its TNA with the ambition to pave the way for emission reductions and for the Government of Pakistan to draw up a comprehensive National Climate Change Mitigation Technology Development Programme. One of the results of the TNA process, was a Technology Action Plan (TAP), outlining the necessary steps for BRT implementation.

The TAP identifies concrete actions and activities needed for successful technology implementation for three priority sectors (energy, forestry, and transport) and develops indicative investment proposals for each technology.

For Pakistan the Tap includes plans for solar PV at household and institution levels, micro hydropower plants, sustainable forest management and social forestry, vehicle tune up and the BRT system.

More information on Pakistan’s TNA can be found here.

World’s first biomethane bus fleet

The current public transportation system in Karachi fails to provide mobility for all and is characterized by long commuter trips, and the rise of private vehicle ownership and paratransit modes, leading to higher emissions and rising air pollution.

Building on the TNA and the TAP, the Government of Pakistan received financial support totalling USD 583 million to implement the BRT system in Karachi, with implementation starting March 2020 and a planned completion date at the end of 2024.

The project aims to establish a 30-kilometre, rapid transit (BRT) system, fully separated from other transport modes, and operated with the “world’s first” biomethane hybrid bus fleet.

The project also includes innovative features such as a dedicated bio-gas plant covering 100% of the fuel demand and the last-mile connectivity via bikes and e-pedicabs and includes flood proofing of the entire system.

In line with national strategies

This is in line with the Pakistan Vision 2025, targeting provision of access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems for all.

The BRT project is funded with 49 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and USD 534 million from the Asian Development Bank.