The challenges and frustrations with driving a vehicle in Karachi are known to residents commuting on a daily basis. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the commercial hub and most populous city of Pakistan has been ranked among the worst cities in the world for drivers.
According the 2019 Driving Cities Index prepared by Mister Auto, a France-based automotive specialist, Karachi is ranked as the fifth worst city for driving. To give Karachites any respite, the crowded Indian metropolis of Mumbai has been ranked as the worst place on a list of 100 global cities, based on congestion, fatalities, and affordability.
Other cities include the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, Kolkata in India, and Lagos in Nigeria. The top ten worst cities include four from Asia and South America, highlighting that traffic is a serious problem there. At the other end of the spectrum, the western Canadian city of Calgary has received the number-one spot due to the desirability to be on the road. Among the other best cities were Dubai, Ottawa, Berne, El Paso, and the European cities of Gothenburg and Dusseldorf.
Globally motorists spend approximately two years of their lives behind the wheel. Citizens are concerned about the ways to improve conditions for their vehicles. Many countries have made progress by investing in mass transit to counter traffic. However, cities such as Karachi have not picked up pace on developing on infrastructure projects.
The study focuses on three main categories that impact driving conditions: infrastructure, safety, and costs. To determine a city’s infrastructure, the study examined factors such as the number of cars per capita, traffic congestion, quality of roads and public transport among others. With a the transport network in shambles, it is no surprise Karachi has one of the worst public transports in the world.
Driving on the streets of Karachi is a frustrating experience. Traffic is often congested in the city with motorcyclists zigzagging between them. They constantly fear being hit by a minivan, and invoking the ire of the predatory policemen. All these factors make driving in Karachi a complete nightmare.
This is not the first report of its kind but several independent surveys have also ranked Karachi repeatedly as one of the ten worst cities in the world. This also exposes the harsh reality that must be addressed at the earliest. The government, local authorities and other stakeholders should not dismiss these reports as biased but rather accept criticism to make positive changes.