Hina Riaz

Paris is the capital of France which is known for its beauty around the globe. The city is easy to fall in love with, as it is a home of breathtaking art, unique monuments, lavishing restaurants and museums.

Apart from the landmarks, Paris has worldwide recognition in transport sector. Metro de Paris is a rapid transit metro system with 4.5 million daily ridership serving the capital city of Paris within the Île-de-France region, France. The 214 km long metro train opened in 1900 is the source of high economic growth and development of Paris.

Pakistan is also in dire need of introducing a rapid mass transit system to meet the future transport demands of the increasing population. Recently the Punjab Government has revolutionised the transport culture by introducing Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project.

The development of the first ever rapid mass transit system of the country is very challenging, but once this project is completed it will prove a blessing for all.

The history of Paris Metro and Lahore Orange Line Metro Train is quite similar as both countries were in immense need of Mass Transit system. Today Paris Metro is a symbol of development and modernization, but if you were living in Paris in 19th century, it probably would have felt more like a giant nightmare.

In 1870s, Paris developed horse-drawn streetcars. These streetcars were not capable of fulfilling the transport needs of the most populous city of France. With the population becoming dense, traffic congestion was growing massively and the deadlock put pressure on the authorities to finally build a rapid transit system and Metro provided the best solution. Similarly, Pakistan has been also using traditional means of transportation like Tonga’s, Auto Rickshaw, Vans and less spaced buses. Whenever a latest vehicle was introduced people literally forgot the previous one and started benefitting from the latest mode of transportation and now Orange Line Metro Train is need of the hour. For example when Underground Mass Transit system was introduced in London in 1863, it turned the country inside out for once, but today it facilitates 1.17 billion passengers.

New York City underground metro system carried 1.71 billion passengers last year and same is the case with Tokyo, Beijing and Istanbul, who are providing fast, modern and dignified rides to their public due to the fulfillment of mega road projects.

It was equally challenging for Paris to introduce the first ever metro train system, as Paris was in debt; there were financial crisis due to which the construction process could not go smoothly. Equally worrisome were the social and spatial questions of whether railway was compatible with the urban spaces and urban life. Another dilemma was the location of Paris metro train. The train was to be built in the heart of the city, close to architectural sites. Different forces protested against Paris Metro, calling Metro de Paris a threat to the beauty and integrity of Paris.

Today Lahore Orange Line Metro train is being criticised for posing a so called threat to the heritage. A historical preservation society named, “Society for the Friends of Parisian Monuments” was established in 1884 that said the metro would damage Paris’s architectural patrimony. Specifically they were worried about structural damage from construction and rumbling of trains, the possibility of tunnels collapsing and elevated tracks visually disrupting the monuments and streetscapes.

Opponents named Paris metro as Barbarian tramway. They said Paris metro is anti-national, anti-municipal, anti –patriotic…people even claimed that after the construction of metro there will no longer be a Paris. There were also concerns that Paris Metro would disturb the life on the surface of city, it will create noise, depress property values and violate privacy of the indoor world.

All the criticism was gone after the construction of Paris Metro; people realised that Mass Transit System had beautified Paris, those who opposed it became the supporter and appreciator of the Metro train. Now Metro Paris is the proud of every Parisian. One cannot ignore its significance in the progress and prosperity of the country.

Paris metro strengthens our resolve that Lahore Orange Metro Train is an excellent initiative for providing cheap, time saving and reliable transport in future to all. After the accomplishment of Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project everyone will appreciate its role in the provision of international standard transportation, generation of high economic activities and dignified ride to a common man.

Lahore Orange Line Metro Train will also become pride for the whole nation and it will catalyse the pace of progress of our country too. We must wish the train luck and let the paths of progress be paved for all and sundry.