The Dhabeji Express could only run for five months because of a shortage of passengers.
The much-publicized circular train service in Karachi had to be closed five months after it was launched with tall claims by the federal government.
It was closed because of the continued losses, said the Pakistan Railways management. “The fare of the circular train was low and the number of passengers was far less than the train’s capacity,” Divisional Commercial Officer Ishaq Baloch said.
The fare of the circular was between Rs25 and Rs80 per person. The train that had seven to eight coaches but the number of passengers that usually traveled by it was around 225, according to the PR official.
The sitting capacity of the circular train was 578.
The city’s local train commute started to get suspended from the beginning of the current month. However, the railways department has closed it completely now, citing financial constraints.
One of the major reasons of the train closure is its timing, SAMAA TV learnt. In the morning, when the train should have its route towards the city, it was scheduled to leave the City Station for Dhabeji. The Karachi-Dhabeji Express was scheduled to leave the City Station at 7am every morning and reach Dhabeji station at 8.55am, after making stops at Drigh Road, Malir and Bin Qasim stations.
President Dr Arif Alvi had inaugurated the train on October 31, 2018. Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed had called it ‘a gift’ from Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“We haven’t closed the service for the people of Karachi. Instead, we have shifted it to Shah Latif Express,” said the federal minister in his media talk in Hasan Abdal today (Wednesday).
“I am a businessman. No train service was called off. Dhabeji train had fewer passengers that’s why it was suffering from losses.”
However, SAMAA TV learnt that Dhabeji Express’ regular passengers can’t be accommodated in the Shah Latif Express as its time is different from that of the circular train. The local train service was earlier closed in 2007.