The transport sector warrants a well-defined integrated approach towards policy formulation, planning, and implementation. Although transport as a sector includes airways, oceans, railways but from vantage of Provincial Transport Department, the road and waterways, after devolution of power under 18th Constitutional Amendment, are of particular interest and focus. The prevailing transportation system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa needs a thorough examination and review; given the challenges and opportunities offered by our geopolitical/strategic and geo-economic conditions underwritten by globalization and international interdependence. Thus considering the importance of the sector, the present Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has taken a strategic decision in September 2008 to establish an independent Transport Department.
Directorate of Transport and Mass Transit was established in the year 2002, as attach department of Environment Department with the mandate to regulate and ensure provision of better public transport and facilitate general public in travel. It is also obliged to ensure provision of safety arrangement, availability of special arrangements for disables persons in the public Transport and facilities at bus stands for common public. The Directorate of Transport was declared as attached department of the Transport & Mass Transit Department after establishment of the department in 2008 by amendment in the Rules of Business. The directorate is also responsible to ensure fitness of the public vehicle and control vehicular emission for clean and green environment. We also provide driving skills to public at state of art the Government Driving School.
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.
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.