The economics behind the Lahore Metro Bus Service

Published: February 11, 2013

Lahore citizens crammed into an operational Metro Bus. PHOTO: ONLINE

Lahore citizens crammed into an operational Metro Bus. PHOTO: ONLINE This is reckless spending which matches the obsessive behaviour of emperors from not so democratic times. PHOTO: AFP

According to the Punjab government, 30 billion rupees is the amount of money spent on the Lahore Metro Bus Service. The actual figure may be a lot more, but let’s just take their word for it and apply a bit of perspective to it instead.

Overall the entire allocated money for Punjab infrastructure development is Rs63 billion which means that 50% or half of the development budget of Punjab was spent in Lahore.

This excludes the cost of the numerous underpasses and overhead bridges that were built in Lahore.

Compare this Rs30 billion to the Rs16.5 billion allocated to the health sector for the entire province of Punjab. Just imagine if this same budget, allocated to the metro service was spent on the health sector instead.

A state of the art hospital like the recently developed Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology was built within Rs2.8 billion, taking that as our benchmark, we would have been able to build 10 such hospitals with the RS30 billion spent on the Metro Bus!

An interesting perspective, right?

Compare this with the Rs25 billion development budget for education in Punjab for the current year. From this 25 billion a total of Rs5 billion was spent on giving away laptops. Although the goodwill gesture behind the act remains, pragmatism is in severe dearth. Unfortunately, the schools in this country lack basic infrastructure, sanitation and clean drinking water – laptops are a far off dream.

Some may think Punjab as a province is able to afford such shenanigans but a close look at the economic situation of the province gives a very different picture.

In these hard economic times, under the PPP government, it is Punjab that is the worst performing province.

The province’s annual average growth rate of 2.5% between 2007 and 2011 lagged far behind the 3.4% for the rest of Pakistan, according to the Lahore-based Institute of Public Policy (IPP). Over 83% of the Rs783 billion Punjab budget for the current year will be financed by federal transfers and 12% by provincial tax revenue.

The more worrying factor is that Punjab is generating very little revenue of its own and the provincial government has completely failed to address this problem, in fact it is making it worse by spending billions on projects which will further strain the treasury.

Interestingly, very little is being said about the running cost of the Metro Bus Service as the costs have not been ‘calculated yet’ but conservative estimates are that the subsidies would cost the government a minimum of Rs1 billion a year.

This project has the potential to become another state owned bleeding giant.

This is reckless spending which matches the obsessive behaviour of emperors from not so democratic times. Pakistan is set for harder times economically and the leaders are demonstrating absolutely no sense what so ever or any serious intent to address the actual problems this country faces.

I believe that the Metro Bus Service has nothing to offer this country except further economic misery.

* All figures quoted from the Punjab government site.

Read more by Faraz here, or follow him on Twitter @feeraz_khan

Faraz Khan

Faraz Khan

A financial analyst with expertise in banking instruments which are heavily involved in economic down turns; a management consultant and a struggling blogger. Faraz is fascinated by the left 'wingery' in Pakistan and tweets as @feeraz_khan

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://Peshawar Khan Gul

    Just imagine if the same budget was spent on cooking pakora’s, no person in Pakistan would go to bed without eating a pakora.Recommend

  • Hassan

    PTCL’s recent inauguration of employee development program would really enhance its employees towards integration, rention and would further enhance its performance in the telecommunication market. Recommend

  • http://Peshawar Khan Gul

    Author, you conveniently forgot that in Pakistan, most big budget ventures like this are easily covered up by tolls, taxes. In this particular case, the money spentis indeed 30 billion, but it will cover up 30 billion within 5 years and after that the other billion’s can be spent on cooking the pakora’s i just mentioned.Recommend

  • B.Ally

    This is typical case of jumbled up priorities. Recommend

  • Abdul Rehman

    For Punjab Govt, NPV is positive as more than 30 billion will be collected from Punjab n will go in their pockets in next 5 years. So a healthy investment fr PG’Recommend

  • Zeeshan Zafar

    Excellent report. I don’t know what’s the interest Shareef brothers have in road transportation things. Motorway, underpasses and flyovers… Bullshit. This Wazir-e-Aala of Punjab acts as Wazir-e-Aala Lahore. Apart from Lahore, people in Punjab are dying with poverty. He never even thinks about it. He should focus more on education, health facilities, food etc.Recommend

  • Syed Qamar

    Atleast something spent on for public, instead of corruption, out government should initiate more projects.Recommend

  • Fraz

    I dont know the meaning of Policy analysis. what are the short term and long term goals. What is meant by opportunity cost. What is SWOT analysis. The definition of metropolitan cities. Rural to Urban influx. The difference between development and non development budget. What should be privatised and nationalised. How the hell US is keeping its space projects plus foreign adventures plus foreign aid intact instead of double dip recession. Recommend

  • http://xx N.Wallani

    Thank you Mr. Sharif (s). All we need is good transport system, big roads, bridges,
    gas, good telecommunacation systems, good housing and cheap food besides good
    security. Spend as much as you can on all these.

    The balance you may keep for yourselves, your family and your party etc.
    And look I will still VOTE FOR YOU. Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    In 5 years just 1 (Imported) Metrobus system. Decide yourself .Recommend

  • sameera rashid

    Very nice! You have seen through it. We couldn’t have basant so a mela was held for the inauguration of MBS.

    The annual operational expenses of running the buses would far exceed the collection of revenues through fare;so, another dent in the exchequer , which would filled with subsidies.

    At this time when resources are scarce, we need to spend resources on the social sectors that increase social and economic productivity. Spending Rs. 30 billion on education and I would say simply by spending even 10% of the cost of project on Adult education would spurt up economic productivity by a few percentage points.

    But why did Punjab government go for MBS? Simple reasons: improving quality of education requires greater effort and broader time frame as educating a child from class 1 to 10 normally take not less than 10 years and in that time frame two elections are contested. So a politician would be tempted to build a Metro Bus project in six months to establish his pro-develoment credentials before elections.

    Further, we need to question policies of Politicians executed with tax payers’ money, or, even loans- if the project has been funded by my taxes, then show me benefits through cost-benefit analysis, and if it has been funded through a grant or loan, which my son or his son would pay, then I also need to be informed with exact data about its potential benefits. All established democracies that follow the principles of transparency and accountability conduct pre-construction cost-benefit analysis and that should be shared by SS with his electorate.Recommend

  • Nadir

    Underpasses for the rich is nation building, busses for the poor, is a waste. And do look up the budget for development in Punjab, and then comment on how 50% of it has been spent on the Metro Bus service.Recommend

  • xyz

    very well written.This project is not for people .it is just for vote and publicity stunt. enough said for people of punjab that they have 2.5 % growth than 3.7 % of rest pakistanRecommend

  • Op

    good analysis..people need to know that the lahore is not entire punjab..people who supporting metro bus haven’t gone to DG khan, Rajanpur, Muzzafargarh, Mianwali, Bhakkar, Bahawalnagar. we need to understand that providing amenities to the the fewer and depriving the majority (deserving) will not the solve our problem. Recommend

  • JB

    I agree with the author. The money should have been spent on core issues: load shedding, food, shelter! Why spend the ‘declared’ Rs.30 billion on something which although improves the basic infrastructure, yet does not meet the immediate needs of the public? There is a very good reason as far as PML N is concerned. Elections are coming up. They need something tangible to show. If there is no load shedding, the public would not notice PML N’s contribution.
    And for all those praising this bus service and how the money would go back in to the economy in five years: I congratulate you on not only ignoring core issues like food and load shedding, but also agreeing to paying a greater amount of tolls and taxes! Thank you for not only increasing our cost of living but also making life more difficult!! Bravo!Recommend

  • http://islamabad abc

    please for Godsake appreciate something good.
    if there wasnt any developmental project in punjab just like other 3 provinces you certainly wouldnt have any issue but because luckily there is something to be happy about you will definately criticize.

    please learn to appreciate !!Recommend

  • Ashfaq

    Never appreciate good, keep on criticising… Looks like it’s the best we can do.
    Government alone can never be enough to do everything for us. Realize your own responsibility for this nation if you really care for them. Do something in the your own field and be an example for others. Look at people like Edhi who are really doing something for Pakistan without any complaints.Recommend

  • John the Baptist

    @Khan Gul:

    Darbari sahib, when your Zil e Elahi comes up with what fare he will charge then come back and debate figures–without that information, other than MBA’s like you, no one calculate the profitability. And you seem to imply that there will be no more money spent on this white elephant–ever heard of depreciation of assets? Right now, you are making projections based on hot air that normally comes out after eating Raiwind pakoras!Recommend

  • Shershah hassan

    Though I am not PML N’s supporter, I believe that it is good to see that something was spent on the public rather than used up by our so called leaders. Come on we all know that these 30 billion would have never been spent on health or education so lets just give CM some credit. Though it could have better not to elevate the track or use escalators as it could have saved alot of money.Recommend

  • Dars

    Criticism for the sake of criticism…never appreciate anything good!! at least he is doing something? Recommend

  • syed waqar ali

    i am seeing in a positve way you people can travel in expensive vehicles ,is this not a waistage of money, you can spend it for poor people so why not you?if someone is doing better than nothing you should appreciate t
    hat despite of political interest.Recommend

  • haider khan

    The revenue collected from bus service will not even cover the fuel cost , employee wages maintenance cost for the buses. The bus fare will be rupees 10 for one side this means a person using the bus twice a day will be paying around 20 rupees per day. According to one estimate 20000 people will be using metro bus everyday for commuting.A single day revenue for the bus service will be around 4 lac rupees. For a whole year the revenue will be 14.6 crore. Congrats another white elephant is emerging in the form of lahore metro bus serviceRecommend

  • Tribune Reader

    So what if the Punjab Govt spent billions on this project, any value adding development activity should be applauded not brutually attacked like this. This project proves it can be done, mass rapid transit is possible in Pakistan. I am not a fan of Sharifs…hell i am not even from.Punjab but credit should be given where its due.Recommend

  • rukun

    while we’re at it, lets also shed some light on the ever expanding president’s discretionary fund which is also more than 50% of punjab’s budget.


  • John the Baptist


    So, I can loot a bank, shoot a man in the process, then come out and give half the money to a faqir on the road. Should I expect you to to calp and say to those trying to arrest me: Criticism for the sake of criticism…never appreciate anything good!! at least he is doing something?

    Both the left and right and right hemispheres of the idiots we unfortunately have to share this country with have decayed beyond repair–they have neither the ability to tell right from wrong, nor any acumen for analyzing the suitability of allocation of scarce financial resources. Really depressing state of affairs to see all these English speaking illiterates!Recommend

  • Amjad

    @John the Baptist:
    If all others are looting the bank, shooting a few people in the process and keeping all the money to themselves…. You would be Andhon mein Kana Raja. Recommend

  • umair

    quiet a piece of %^ I must say ! poor the writer but missed to mention the amount of new hospitals that hav opened every where in punjab . forgot to mention danish schools . ITS A BLOODY GOOD PLANNING OF MONEY ! THEY CONTROLLED THE DENGUE !! its a job unbelievable but they did it ! and the province now also has teh stat of the art solid wast management setup ! this pTI deewana writer is not happy . aww…..
    “Overall the entire allocated money for Punjab infrastructure development is Rs63 billion”……EVERY YEAR is what he missedRecommend

  • Zoaib

    Agree completely. It’s a case of warped priorities and it’s sad to see many people falling for these high profile projects which benefit few but prove to be a big burden on the national exchequer. Also don’t know why this obsession PML-N has with infrastructure – even now in speeches they regularly recount the motorway as if it solved Pakistan’s basic problems. We need to demand more from our rulers rather than the typical attitude of “something is better than nothing”. The less we appreciate these gimmicks, the less likely our politicians will be of going for these projects. Our money needs to be spent MUCH more wisely. Our statistics in Education, Health and even Clean drinking water are abysmal.Recommend

  • Faraz Khan

    @Khan Gul:

    Divide 30 billion by (5*365) , you get 16.5 million. This is the amount of money you need to make per day with the Metro Bus. A Big Good luck with that.


  • kbr

    This is an excellent effort of Punjab Government and the kind of argument that the author is trying to give is totally silly…its a matter of getting to travel like “civilized human beings”…the major portion of the taxpayers in this country are the salaried people, who need such state-of-the-art transportation facilities to be able to work and to pay the tax in the form of “income tax” so that any budget at all could be made…. I think that such projects should also be initiated in Karachi and other cities of Pakistan with a approach that “lets treat our taxpayers as humans”…The point is that this kind of projects are in a direct connection with our masses and no matter if PML(N) wins the election or not, still they have raised the bar of providing decent public transport…otherwise from 65 years we are travelling in the vehicles made to transport animals and crops….We should be glad that whatever cost this project has taken, at least it is visible and serving many people, instead of giving the same amount to the hospitals and schools where corrupt non-visionary people would eat 75% and spend 25% of the sum the author has given….in Pakistanis politics such kind of quick actions are rarely seen and we should appreciate such effort instead of searching for nonsensical argument. Any citizen of this country who pays tax from his salary and is now using this bus service would be extremely happy on the deduction of tax this month…Recommend

  • Awais

    If anyone has any issue with MBS and he thinks that he has some grounds why he doesn’t go to court to challenge this waste of money.Recommend

  • Faisal

    I traveled in Metro-bus today. Hats off to Shahbaz Sharif.Recommend

  • Amanzeb Khan

    Road infrastructure definitely needs to be improved. Noone can argue against that. But why does it have to be at this cost for a 26 Km road. We need to be more cost effective in our spending and need to get our priorities right. This project feels like selling your house to buy a ferrari. Recommend

  • John the Baptist


    Hold on to your hat for now! Wait a year or two, you will have to sell your pants to pay for it!Recommend

  • Abid Azam

    Such a lame article. This is an amazing project and one has to start from somewhere. Haters will always come up with this point of starting another project instead of this project. I am really happy to see the completion of this project, because this will atleast set a trend of better and comfortable public transport in Pakistan. I lived in Berlin and travelled around 13 European Union countries and the standard of this metro service bus can easily be compared with these countries. I would personally love to travel and prefer this bus service instead of my own car and other provinces desperately need such kind of projects.

    Instead of criticizing on this project, other provinces should also start such kind of projects which can improve the overall status of public transport. Although I am not a big fan of Punjab Government, they are not only focused on this project but they have also taken a lead on other projects related to health, education, infrastructure building, sanitation and hygiene.

    Well done!!Recommend

  • Zeus

    @Abdul Rehman:
    Oh yes, certainly, from the last drop of blood of poorRecommend

  • ahmed

    What a pity on us. I think US should consider why they waste trillion of dollars in AFGHAN War? But the brother is instead appreciating the efforts being put by CM Punjab as compared to other provinces CM & federal government efforts to initiate such projects in other part of the country only criticizes????
    What a shame on US that they build Empire State Building during their 1st recession after 1st world war???
    By the way no one criticizes such efforts in Karachi when billion of Rupees spent during Musharraf era on development of roads & beautification infrastructures???
    I think luckily the Chaudhries are not existing in Karachi otherwise you know what could happened??

    Anyway praise for the tireless efforts done by CM for such initiatives despite his illness & bad governance example by federal governments.

    In the end this project will benefit the people of Pakistan & specially Lahoris.Recommend

  • Florence

    Well, I can most of the negative comments above. What about a positive aspect of this picture?

    What if the same amount would have been used in corruption case then no one would have blamed those politicians!!

    But if a single person intends to spend money on a positive and constructive note, which is going to helps us (at the end of the day), then everyone is pinching him for why he has done it? I can see mostly who are against this initiative, are those who travel in their comfortable cars/ Mercedes/ land cruisers so the very idea of coming up with this initiative would have crossed their minds.

    All of you above are criticizing him for spending 30 billion which is 50% of annual budget for Punjab. I believe, if even a single project (like this) be taken every year from their annual budgets, our whole country would be at a far much better place.

    Our nation has got a great hobby; Do Nothing, and criticize those WHO ARE DOING IT!!Recommend

  • Mobeen

    30 Billion probably doesn’t include the cost of “The Kalma Chowk Stupidity”- when the brand new 4 lane road was constructed three times of the span of 2 years to accommodate impulsive projects like Metro Bus and Kalma Chowk under pass, while leaving the entire Lahore paralyzed. Recommend

  • Faraz Khan

    Something is better than nothing …. we are not living in an ideal society and we seldom get a penny back paid in taxes …. rather we are living in an era where we are not getting commodities/services even by paying hard cash. So this is really a remarkable achievement considering the current situation of corruption and law and order in the contry. Recommend

  • Nabeel Ahmad

    Very informative article! I wonder why none of the TV show anchors interviewing Shehbaz Sharif everyday asked him any questions about this project with some real facts and figures like this.Recommend

  • Umair

    Keeping in mind that hospitals are necessity to patients only if ambulances can drop them on time :D Recommend

  • YA

    Runga Rung phoolon ko apni bahar dekhany do !!Recommend

  • Knotty

    Your analysis is very negative.
    When I go to Pakistan, I am a house prisoner due to no good transport. I cannot spend my money in shopping etc…I do that in Malaysia.. I use their public transport and visit many places and spend my pounds.
    Metro bus will bring mobility for locals and tourists and increase social interaction etc. It will increase the size of the pie, whereas spending on hospitals (it’s good thing though), will not bring commercial success.
    I think Pakora example is a better criticism on your economics. Recommend

  • Florence

    If you talk about health, Punjab Govt tireless efforts has made Dengue reduced to considerable amount last year! They had done sprays of insecticides at the right amount and right time; Last year many lesser cases were reported.

    REMINDER: Punjab Govt needs to starts doing sprays soon, please! :)Recommend

  • waqas

    i just want to say that i am not shahbaz supporter but the job he had done is marvelous.and we
    should appreciate his effort and he didnt waste money but gave us an output in the form of MBS.
    He will also make projects for education as well as food and health .We should pray to God for better future of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rana Faisal Hayat

    haha what a funny article. You obviously hold the right to have an opinion but you have no right to back it with wrong arguments. I would suggest you to do a little bit research if not more before writing a blog next time. Almost all your figures are wrong. For example the most common thing about Punjabs budget is that out of the total budget of 764 billion, 232 billion is allocated for the education sector. I mean no disrespect, with all due respect please stop presenting your misinformation as facts and its about time you realize the gimmickry of your knowledge. Recommend

  • Tahir

    Actually the writer is living in fool’s paradise. We are working for our party only, not for our country. Punjab’s economy downtrend is because of prejudice at the federal level by not providing electricity and gas to the punjab industries which are the backbone of the Pakistan’s economy. We the common people will be using the services not the Sharif brothers. Yes it is good to build hospitals but if your patient dies before reaching hospital because of lack of transportartion then what’s the use of hospital. Sher shah suri built big net work of GT roads for the people so that they can run their businesses easily. Please Mr writer don’t do enemity just for the sake of enemity, please show the courage to appreciate even if your enemy is doing something good for the people.Recommend

  • Rana Faisal Hayat

    haha fraz stop making yourself a laughing stock with all the wrong figures in the article. Not even one of your figures is correct. Firstly the development infrastructure budget of Punjab is not 63 billion, secondly the budget reserved for education in punjab is n ot 25 billion, its 232 billion, more than any other province and the federal government. Thirdly the budget for the health department is more than 300 billion. I hope you realize the value of your article now. I am providing the official link of the punjab government for the budget of the current fiscal year. Recommend

  • 3footninja

    @John the Baptist:
    So, I can loot a bank, shoot a man in the process, then come out and give half the money to a faqir on the road. Should I expect you to to calp and say to those trying to arrest me: Criticism for the sake of criticism…never appreciate anything good!! at least he is doing something?

    let me correct the analogy for you…
    forget about looting a bank – go loot the poor on the street, and then give half that money back to the faqirs only in lahore, and pocket the rest.

    its awfully sad to see that ‘literates’ are actually appreciating this farce. i personally think that there is nothing but hollow in the left and right hemispheres that you are referring to.Recommend

  • Captain29

    I dont understand why so many ppl in Pakistan is so critical about ter new metro bus service, infact tey should feel proud tat a new system has been launched to enhance the transport infrastructure of a big city like Lahore. Here I would like to mention tat wen the Delhi metro system was launched none in India criticized it, infact ppl praised it as it would enhance the transport infrastructure of a big city like Delhi and we r now buildng metro transit system in all major cities in India. I think in Pakistan ppl r bit more pessimistic and critical tan in India.

  • Akmal

    Come on don’t be biased, you can appreciate if money is spent on quality projects in Pakistan. I am sure the author would have criticized even if it was an education or health prroject.Recommend

  • salman

    @ PTI supporters: appreciate things instead of whining like little girls , its a good move Recommend

  • khurshid

    This money should have been used on projects like Rental powers to generate………..:)Recommend

  • tajjee

    Great Piece of Article: Usually, to speak against popular stuff is great sin in our country

    People need to leave the habit that b/c politician do nothing for us, therefore whatever little they do is by all mean OK.

    According to media, PKR 2B would be given in subsidy to run this project which means this project would cost PKR 24Billions a year.

    With a budget of only 31 Billions for education of entire punjab, is it rational to spend 30 Billions as fixed cost and 24 Billions/ year variable cost?

    Additionaly, no one is exposing the statistics of public money to market this MBS throug electronic and print media.

    If this project is that much useful, why is there a need to advetise it on TV with taxpayers money?

    Like Laptop, Sastee Routee, Peelee Taxi, and Internships, this project too, exposes myopic and shortsighted leadership of N league.

    Finally, with Ujala project PML(N) has accepted that if given govt it cant/ will not solve issue of loadshedding.Recommend

  • ThumbsUpGulKhan

    I would second Gul Khan’s comments, Pakora is far more important than anything else. We couldn’t afford pakoras and they are building the Metro . What the hell ….Recommend

  • Ali

    John the Bsheet, you always groan and moan as if your cajones are under somebody’s feet? Cheer up sometime :)Recommend

  • Nasir Mahmood

    I think the author belongs to a privileged class and have never visited Shahradh and its sorrounding areas otherwise he could have written differently. He should have appreciated that something is built for the under privileged people who can travel easily.Recommend

  • Mirage

    @Syed Qamar:
    @Khan Gul:
    Well Qamar sb. all these guys who want nothing done (read PPP apologists) who want the whole budget outlay for unfettered corruption will never be satisfied. Spend the whole thing on this why not that? Same arguments were being made about motorways etc. In Pakistan after a lot of research I believe that one should take the plunge nay sayers will never ever be satisfied. For that matter fed gov spends 70 Billion every year on BISP. will that ever be sustainable or has it reduced poverty? no money will ever be recovered back from there so whats up with the economics of that. This nation of ours and more so its so called experts have mind boggling views. Khan Gul is right all the money should be spent on pakoras so that we have enough human waste to make our land fertile and to propel us to the biggest agri economy in the world. How about that for “Poop economics”Recommend

  • waheed ishaq butt

    good struggle to present the figures,but spreadit over the whole budget it became heavy,if it is concentrated on MBS good impact could have created.Still u have time to search n the following lines to make historic impact of your study.Dig out following things from the bills of the contractorsor bills of quantities.a,how steel is useRecommend

  • aroojk

    Another fabulous point taken up by somebody who definitely doesn’t use humiliating public transport …
    People of this country need everything from health, education, to infrastructure … Anything spent for public should be welcome … And if somebody has the guts to criticise anything … he or she should first point out a finger on our non-developmental budget (defence). Reduce defence budget & spend on public welfare with increased allocations on health, education, etc … But the former cricketer-mentality would never dare soRecommend

  • aroojk

    Needless to say the argument is bogus but its also presented by someone quite ignorant of reality. Growth of Punjab ??? Hahaha … Everybody knows Punjab is the bread-basket of the whole country as far as agriculture is concerned and also backbone of trade & industry. And if somebody knows that … he or she also knows that Punjab was targeted as far as electricity & gas loadshedding is concerned. How can anyone expect an increased growth-rate in such circumstances?Recommend

  • Ahmed

    We want this man the next PM of PakRecommend

  • doom

    Surprised to find that the author is allegedly a financial analyst. It is unbecoming of a financial analyst to simply pull out of his hat the assertion that 10 hospitals is better than 1 mass transit bus system for a major city of 10 million people or so? And how much time, money, fuel, and hence GDP is lost each year on account of lack of mass transit in our major economic centers?

    The point being that typically one would do a cost-benefit analysis to assess if a project like this is any good. Because when you don’t do that then yes, pakoras-for-all can be better than bus-system if you want. Credit: Khan Gul. Recommend

  • Nasir Mahmood

    I think the author belongs to a privileged class and have never visited Shahradh and its sorrounding areas otherwise he could have written differently.Recommend

  • Usman

    There are three kind of lies. White lies, black lies… and statistics.

    50% of annual budget seems like a huge amount, but it is 50% of one year! Whereas he’s been CM for 5 years. That is only 1/10th of the budget he had to spend during his time as CM.

    Not a huge fan of his, especially because of that laptop scheme, but at least see things in proper perspective. Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Time is money, there is a huge traffic problem in lahore, this project will save alot of time for people who want to travel through city without getting stuck in trafficRecommend

  • AHB

    Criticizing projects like laptop sheme and Benazir income support program is good. It will discourage government to bribe the masses for votes. But criticizing for the sake of criticizing is not fruitful. Metro bus system is a good project. World is moving forward and we are still stuck in the past. If we don’t like a party, we will criticize them for everything.

    Author mentioned that ten hospitals could be built at the cost of Metro bus service project. First of all you are comparing oranges with apples. Punjab government already built hospitals in many cities. They built General hospital in Bahawalnagar, Multan, Lodharan, DG Khan, Burn center Nishter hospital and health centers in different places. These hospitals were only built in Southern Punjab, I didn’t mention other parts of Punjab. Of course they are not enough for growing population in Pakistan. And it’s not just building a hospital, they also have a running cost.

    Travelling for a poor person is not just difficult, it’s humiliating. You can only understand that if you have done it yourself. Not everyone is born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth. Those who own cars have no idea what it’s like to travel without a car. Metro bus services are subsidized all over the world. You are the financial analyst, you should know.

    These projects are subsidized because if everyone uses his car for commuting, a lot of fuel will be consumed. And environmental factor is also there. Pollution in Lahore is already 3 times the safety limits. It’s because of poor transport system and so many cars on the road.

    And you also mentioned that punjab is not producing revenue. And growth rate is lower than other provinces. Have you ever read newspaper, how shortage of gas and electricity is damaging textile sector. In 2012, the textile industry received gas for about six months (Ref. Dawn, link given below.) If industry is closed for half a year, how are they suppose to generate any revenue. Power and Gas is a federal subject, provincial government can not do anything about it. You should also write an article about left wingery goverment of PPP.

  • Sajid Khan

    Only for financing cost, assuming 12% interest rate, the first year require 30*.12 = 3.6billion ruppes for interets only on the financing
    Divide this 3.6billion on the number of buses (40 I have read some where) and you will end up nearly Rs. 150 per seat per trip only for the interets. Forget about the capital and running cost.

    Second scenario is receoverin capital in 5 years as mentioned, even on zero interest the metro bus should generate 30/5/365 = 16.5 million rupees per day divide this by number of buses (40), number of trips (assuming 16) and number of seats (assuming 100). It comes out to be Rs. 258 per seat per trip without any running cost (fuel, maintenance, salaries).

    I do not know how our leaders lie so much.Recommend

  • Hussain

    It’s obvious that the writer has no clue about basic economics. A lot of people have criticized the performance of the Punjab Government based on the comparatively low growth rate of GDP in Punjab. Answer this simple question: The growth rate of US is 2.1%, the growth rate of Pakistan is around 3.5%, does that make Pakistan a better country than the US? this writer do not know how growth rates should be interpreted. Punjab’s GDP per capita is much higher than the national GDP per capita and that is why the growth rate in Punjab is lower. And don’t forget, the growth rate in Punjab is despite the discriminatory policies of the central government w.r.t. energy distribution.

    As far as using the budget elsewhere is concerned, the Punjab government did set up Danish Schools, IT university, and cardiology ward. No one bothered to appreciate them. As they say, Haters gonna hate.Recommend

  • http://Peshawar Khan Gul

    @John Baptist i have heard of pai at raiwind, the pakora’s must have been sold at PTI jalsa’s at minare-e pakistan.

    @Faraz Khan You are not good at maths. I gave the 5 year figure as an estimate. Here are the full details:
    How much money needs to be made to cover the costs?
    30 billion / 5 = 6 billion per year
    6 billion / 365 = 16.5 million per day
    16.5 million / 45 buses = 3.6 lac per bus per day
    Total length of track = 27 km. Travelling at 30 km / hour, the bus can make one round trip in one hour …
    3.6 lac / 24 hours = ~15 thousand rupees per bus in 1 hour.
    Given station to station cost = 45 rupees (round trip = 90 rupees) and seating capacity = 200 passengers, this means a bus has the capability to generate 18,000 rupees in 1 hour
    Totalling all of this, the bus can generate a maximum of 35 Billion in 5 years from TICKETING alone. Add to this the profit of advertisements, the expansion of the scheme to other cities of Punjab, etc. etc. ….. and you are talking about figures which will make you faint.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The idea of ONE MONTH free rides for the public just does not seem right.Recommend

  • Saad Ali Dar

    I will not quote figures or anything like that. I would just like to say, i believe that any money spent on public is better than money remained un utilized.

  • Yasser

    Yes, Indeed, Shahbaz Sharif proving himself mayor of Lahore which population is 10 million instead of CM of Punjab which population is 90 million, public can now see the priorities and tactics of PMLNRecommend

  • Saad Ali Dar

    Money spent on general public is better than money lost in corruption. You can say that the priorities might not be right but still something is being done.

    To the point that Punjab is the most under performing province than you should looked into the reason in which the most obvious one is that one you have hostile federal government it is very difficult to do work.

    Have you forget the “JUST” electricity loadshedding in the province of Punjab?
    Come on give me a break!Recommend

  • MARS

    @kahn Gul

    if daily travelers= 100,000
    average revenue per traveler per day= Rs.20
    Revenue per day: 20 x 100,000 = 2 Million
    Revenue per anum: 365 x 2 Million = 730 Million Rupees.
    lets suppose the cost of maintenance, fueling, employees, etc. = zero
    the time to break even would be = 30,000 Million / 730 Million = 41 years.

    well that would be too much for me at-least to wait for the pakortas :) .. i guess a rational argument would make more sense then the “ridicule of pakortas” .. sometime pakortas can get offended too :)Recommend

  • Nishant

    the delhi metro cost for 1 km of underground section is 100 crores(indian rupees or 10 billion)
    just for the recordRecommend

  • sana

    bet there’s tons of towns in balochistan with no roads, electricity, water, gas – let’s cancel the entire budget of the punjab govt and spend it there.Recommend

  • tajjee

    @Khan GUl

    OK I accept your argument of 35B in five years.

    So, expected return in 5 years=35Billions

    No, lets first calculate Future Value of PKR 30B invested now for next five years.

    Also, Punjab Government website says, it will have to give 2B/Mnth Subsidy to run this project which mean 24Billions a year and 120 Billions in 5 Months.

    it is already too, therefore I am calculating its FV for 5 years.


    Total Cost= Initial+variable=56B+124=180Billions

    Wheras, expected revenue calculated by you is 35

    Net Loss=180-35=145billions

    Who will pay this 145billions?

    All those who pay taxes including me, neither Shareef Family nor their heirs b/c they have paid only 18lacs in taxes uptill now.

    Yeah Loug Hamaray Jootey hamarey sir Maar rahey hain!

    Understand it.Recommend

  • NCer

    For GOD sake Pakistaniz learn to see the positive side of the picture! at least there is a state of the art facility for the commoner.. it will directly facilitate the general public.. it will set the standards for the rest of the country… at least this amount has been used for public interest.. is there any single project worthy of mentioning in the rest of the country? I am from Peshawar and believe me a 500 meter flyover is being constructed (near the provincial assembly) for the last 2 years, it will perhaps take 2 more year with the pace the work is being done. one other flyover has been constructed, which hasn’t any good for the traffic improvement..

    Beside Lahore I have witness major improvement at least in Rawalpindi, Sargodha & Multan, so objecting that all the funds are being spent on Lahore is kind of baseless.. Lahore deserve more funds considering it the most populated city of the province plus its the capital of the province..Recommend

  • http://Paris John the Baptist


    Great. If all others are eating horse dung, you should join in too. What a depraved state of mind!Recommend

  • http://Paris John the Baptist


    If you cannot tell the opportunity cost between a hospital, school and pakoras then your brain has already been fried!

    O’ lord, why us?Recommend

  • http://Paris John the Baptist


    It is not my cajones I am worried about–I am sitting in London with a nice drink in my hand. It is your children, parents, aunties and uncles who will have to pay both for this farce and stupidity. You need to figure out if the Metro Bus will help you pay the Rs. 80,000 + you own the day are born.

    How are you doing now?Recommend

  • noman

    THE PML built a metro bus fore the masses…

    the PPP built a palace for the Zardaris for 50 million dollars

    both are building the nation ..oh wait one is hoarding money for himselfRecommend

  • Naz

    I don’t know why we Pakistani are always criticising..if someone is leading us towards good track then again we are criticising..why?????go and ask those students n peoples who earn 10 thousand pr month n they have to pay half for petrol or transport charges if this service is providing benefit to those so what is the problem in this????atleast it this money is not going in someone’s pocket…it purely for public..and remember if we will encourage these things then we will go to development n betterment side otherwise no chance .Recommend

  • Ahmad_SE

    A good stance by the CM. This step should be appreciated at least. Soon it will be realized that we don’t deserve or need this. The public attitude will make it confirm that (well behaved) Nations take centuries to built and decades to act in civilized manner. Recommend

  • Muhammad Ikram
  • foxer

    give credit where credit is due….hats off to khadim-e-ala…..people say this and that could have been done which is a valid debate we should have but at least he spent the money honestly…..i hope the project is viable financially…in the future….never the less salute to shahbaz……..A DIE HARD IMRAN SUPPORTERRecommend

  • MJ

    ” A developed country is not where the poor have cars, its where the rich use public transport.” – Anonymous

    I read it somewhere and have forgotten the source. Well, the point is that it is indeed a “Public” project. Therefore it is the PUBLIC that has to make it a success! Respect this development and use it fairly. I am pretty sure the economics will be worked out with the right planning, which the government needs to focus on. True, it might be a publicity stunt because of the upcoming elections, but such huge infrastructural developments do not take place everyday. One should bear in mind that this project has been internationally highlighted and the major criticism being that it will fail. It never will; with proper administration and USAGE !
    Encourage everyone to use it, responsibly!


  • Baseer

    This is how they circulate money to themselves. Why the obsession in construction projects. They ensure the contracts are taken by their own businesses. No long term planning. 5 years, slowest growth rate across all 4 provinces. No new revenue generating schemes; but one big elephant they have parked to win over this stupid nation!

    Absolute disgusting!! Do we know how many kids are out of school. How many don’t have the basic health an care facility available? Get the priorities right!Recommend

  • citizen

    hats off to CM . and this is coming from a person who is not a PML supporter . It is our duty to help government maintain this wonderful service . I would highly like to see such service to be started off in capital city islamabad too.Recommend

  • Khurshid

    We should keep in mind if there is not an efficient transport system available patients and students cannot reach hospitals and school. Therefore we should avoid such comparisons and provide some hope to our nation some that at least one government in country has worked on some development projects. We in Islamabad do not think that Kashmir highway project can be completed by the federal government. They have not started and completed a single development project.Recommend

  • Ibrahim

    What I AM going to argue is the notion that this money could’ve been spent on something more important. I don’t think this is unimportant. I’ve lived in cities with well-developed rapid transit systems for years and you wouldn’t believe how easy life was because of them. In our country, fuel is bordering on unaffordable, there’s no gas, and public transport is abysmal. In that environment, this project hits the nail on the head – though I’m still not contending that that was the Punjab Govt’s rationale.
    And mass transit projects require money. They have to be made some time or another. Better now than 10 years down the line.

  • ….

    @sameera rashid:
    Cost benifit analysis? Do you even know how many people would benefit from this project everyday? According to a consultant’s report (consultancy project was initiated by pervaiz elahi in his era), there are more than 1lakh passengers using this road everyday amongst which 85 to 90 percent travel either by bus, motorcycle or use other sources of transport. So this means, every day , atleast 70k to 80k people can benefit from this project. if you dont consider this cost benifit analysis, i guess you dont really know what ‘benefit” means. Economic development is impossible without infrastructure development (thats a chinese saying). The only difference is , that this project does little benefit to people who seldom use public transport, rather just a blessing for the general public who frequently use public transport.Recommend

  • Faraz Khan

    @Khan Gul:
    You should work for the CM and convince him to start 20 more such Metro buses. Pak economy will be booming after that based on ur maths and we will get rid of all the foreign debt.

  • Sceptical

    Have been reading a few posts lately about the Metro bus system and here is my take on it. Think of SKMCH. Do you know its an extremely expensive venture both in terms of its setup cost and in its operational cost? Do you know that using the same money you can setup multiple hospitals in smaller cities (OTHER THAN LAHORE) and provide healthcare to a far greater number of people? But inspite of all this, SKMCH is a GREAT project! Simply because it is unique and a trend setter and most importantly, it serves the ‘have nots’. It has inspired many to do similar or even better! The exact same theory applies to the metro bus. We need to open our minds and appreciate what should be appreciated!
    An argument can be made that SKMCH has been made using donations while MTBS has been built using tax payers money. So I guess its best that we let the tax payers decide if they are okay with it or not. Elections are just around the corner, aren’t they? Recommend

  • Bilal

    Makes u wonder what kinda thought process our leaders have … how can such a big project go ahead when the economic model behind it is not understood and debated … also would be interesting to c what percentage of infrastructure expenditure was on lahore vs the rest of the province .. excellent points raised by the author … i would recommend him to change his pic :PRecommend

  • Bilal

    u have very low expectations for our elected representatives and very high from our author here … khulaa tazaad :)Recommend

  • Faraz Khan

    SKMCH is not government or tax payers money. It is not a constant strain on our treasuryRecommend

  • Bilal


    mate there is no comparison between delhi metro and lahore metro … the scale the dynamics are all different … secondly delhi metro always had an operational PROFIT … lahore metro operational costs are high due to subsidy .. thats the point the author is making Recommend