Mass Transit System – Impacts, Advantages & Disadvantages


Mass transit system refers to public shared transportation, such as trains, buses, ferries etc that can commute a larger number of passengers from origin to destination on a no-reserved basis and in lesser time. It can also be termed as Public Transport.

Rapid transit is an important form of mass transit such as subways and surface light rail systems, designed for commuting inter-city or intra-city. Mass transit may be based on fixed route system such as subway trains, metros or non-fixed route system such as buses. It is potentially more economical, eco-friendly and less time consuming. In addition it is the most competent way of reducing the ever growing traffic congestion of the developing city. Mass transit has the advantage of smaller rights of way and developing lesser amount of infrastructure required for highways and roads.

The drawback of the system is the necessity to travel on a fixed rather than an individually selected schedule and to enter and disembark from the system only at certain designated locations.

Mass transit can be of two types: heavy rail or light rail. Heavy rails are one of the better forms of mass transit as:

  • They are fast
  • They will not interfere with the other traffic as they require separate underground infrastructure

But the initial cost of heavy rail is very high. It works best at places where a larger number of people will ride them such as in the center of big and densely populated cities.

Impacts – Advantages of Mass Transit:

Environmental Impacts

Mass transit is believed to be more environmental friendly than other public transport facilities. Private vehicles emit about twice as much carbon monoxide and other volatile organic compounds than public vehicles. Mass transit reduces the number of cars on the road which in turn reduces the pollution caused by individual cars.

Social Impacts of Mass Transit

All members of the society irrespective of their financial status, religion or cast are able to travel which enhances the social integrity of the country. The necessity of a driving license is also eliminated. It is a blessing for those individuals who are unable to drive.

Economic Impacts of Mass Transit

Mass transit development can both improve the usefulness and efficiency of the public transit system as well as result in increased business for commercial developments and thus serves to improve the economy of the country. Transit systems also have an indirect positive effect on other businesses. Mass transit systems offer considerable savings in labor, materials, and energy over private transit systems. Also mass transit allows a higher amount of load to be transported to far away destinations in lesser time because of its reasonable capacity than private vehicles. Because of their larger capacity offering them to carry high efficient engines they also help in saving fuels.

Other Positive Impacts:

Reduces congestion

The main idea behind mass transit is to reduce the number of vehicles on the road by providing a larger facility which carries higher number of passengers thus eliminating congestion.

Saves Time

Mass transit reduces the travel time to a great extent as it moves at high speeds and stops only at specific spots.

Cost Effective

Mass transit is comparably cheaper than other modes of public transport. Being among the twelve mega cities of the world one thing is for sure that Karachi badly needs a mass transit system of a vast network else the pollution and congestion will continue increasing in the city no matter how many signal free corridors are built. Apart from the political differences talks with Japan are under way for building an underground mass-transit train service in Karachi along with the betterment of our existing railways, it is hoped that the project is approved and carried out successfully.

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