Gift 6: W-11 The Bus.
Photo Credit [ TRAMTACTIC ]

Racing on the streets of Karachi, extravagantly decorated with Chamak pati “Reflective Tape” in vibrant colors, along with truck art paintings. Red hearts with ‘LOVE’ Written on them, hawks and flower vases with patterns like peacock feather all with “Chamak pati”, further lit up with tiny bulbs all over. They are W-11 the most cleanest and finest of the local transportation mini busses.

But it’s not just the outside, The interior of these busses is equally colorful and interesting, strings of colorful beads hanging from the roof in endless loops, wind shield framed with “Chamak pati” work, Back view mirrors installed all around the windshield so the driver can keep an eye on every one of his passengers. To add to this cluster, a wall clock placed on the centre divider of the wind shield, Gear stick colorful with tufts hanging from it and the steering wheel coated with plastic in dashing colors.

But it’s even not just the looks, A tape recorder concealed near the driver’s seat and speakers over the passenger seats, to play the latest hits in loud volume. On the right top over the steering are a set of buttons, for different loud melodious hooters (Motor-horns) and to add to all this the conductor of the bus will also keep you entertained by shouting signals to the driver and announcing the station (Bus Stop) name and also the destinations the bust will be traveling to.

But no, It’s not just the lively noises. Hopping on one of these busses is also an experience you will enjoy. The bus is often over crowded, because it’s route takes people from one end of the city to another while passing through almost all important destinations in the shortest amount of time compared to any other local mini bus. The bus never stops any where for passengers unless of course there is a traffic jam or the driver need to take a rest, The passengers have to actually jump in or out of the bus while the Bus driver will only slow down the bus to about 10 – 15 Km/h, and as soon as both your feet are off or on the bus the conductor will tap the gate an will shout ” Dubble aay” and the bus will pick up speed again. And yes, if you are not too lucky to secure a seat on the bus you will have to hold on to the support bars inside the bus so that you don’t fall over others when the driver breaks or accelerates the bus.
W-11 Theme Tram In Melbourne, Photo Credit : Karen Trist [ TRAMTACTIC ].

Imagine, being surrounded by colorful clustered art work, loud music, interesting sounds, shiny colorful seats, and people of different cast, color and social status, all on a single platform traveling with you on the course of their destination. Yes, it’s not just the journey, it’s not just the sounds, colors or music, but an experience full of life, love and harmony, It’s W-11, Karachi’s sixth gift to the world. May we all learn to live in peace.

32 Comments so far

  1. Sufi (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 6:39 am

    Love your post Jamash. Love all the positivity that its trying to bring back to this blog.


  2. ash (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 7:35 am

    Thats cute . This and pakola…isnt that 2 gifts? how did i miss the rest? could you tell me what the others were?

  3. Sufi (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 7:37 am

    Ash, one gift revealed each day.

  4. Aliha (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 8:07 am

    how can i become the member of this blog? please tell me ………..

  5. Sufi (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 8:13 am

    Aliha, if you mean you want to post here, I think they are not taking any applications for more bloggers right now. When kmb need more bloggers, they usually advertise.

  6. kashif (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 8:17 am

    I used to frequent traveler of W-11 a year back. I was amazed to heard when conductors of bus call it 11 instead of W-11 from this you can imagine its bharam. You forget to mention the Audio Album with the name of FM-W1 1.I guess it has around 15 volume available in the market.

  7. ash (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 8:42 am

    thanks sufi :)

  8. PatExpat (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 10:48 am
  9. Sufi (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 11:25 am

    Jamash, I am disappointed in you that you did not go out and take pictures of it :(

  10. SWA (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 11:28 am

    I hope the new CNG buses that the dutch firm is trying to introduce to Karachi streets also adopt the local culture and tradition and over-decorate themselves with chamak patti and etc. This is authentic Karachi culture. Nowhere else in the world would you find such exquisite mobile art.

  11. tooba (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

    you’ve written it in such a beautiful way k m feeling kinda proud of having travelled in one of those. lol
    otherwise generally the music, the conductor, the overcrowded bus all makes me irritable. your positivity is commendable to say the least! lovely post i must say. and yes, i also wish u could have taken the pictures yourself =)

  12. Mona (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

    I think there is a video on Google somewhere of W-11 Melbourne =) Damn they never have such stuff in Sydney :@

  13. MB (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 12:45 pm

    Hey guys, here are the two links to wikipedia’s W-11 page and Google Video.

    This is great : ”
    The name is based on the W-11 buses originally found in Karachi, Pakistan, which are a model of minibusfamous for their entertainment value: decorated with lush designs and playing popular Pakistani or Indian music. Competition between buses has made thiese buses famous for their extravagant designs and entertainment. “

    Hey, some one should edit this and add more info to it.

  14. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 1:34 pm

    Peshwari IceCream is another gift from Karachi.

  15. A for apple (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 1:36 pm

    Nice W-11 wrap up … :>


  16. zahra (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

    jamash, its so nice to see someone taking such a positive outlook to the “karachi bus experience”, which so many people simply dread (to say the least, esp. women). i salute you for your positivity.

    and i like the peshawari ice cream idea. its “very karachi”!! (ok dont let the grammar watchdogs loose on me!!)

  17. Ahmed (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

    according to this news item the “Karachi Tram” featured in the commonwealth games in Melbourne would now have a permanent route. Truly a gift to the world

  18. wasiq (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:37 am

    @TOOBA….i second your view, i hate it too.To me it and most of the public transport in karachi is a symbol of suppression and repression…..and a gross violation of our human rights….even a stamp from the MIT(massachusetts institute of technology) cannot make it fit for human communications….

    BTW, i do not contest its origin being from karachi.

  19. ash (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 8:00 am

    Doesnt peshawer have peshawari ice cream ?

  20. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 9:24 am

    The first installment of 125 Dutch CNG buses is a part of 8000 buses to ply on karachi roads, fate of W-11 is endagered until the strong Transport Mafia keep the CNG buses out of city.

  21. MB (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 10:38 am
  22. MB (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 10:39 am

    Its been half day now, ma post held for approval. REMOVE this one after its approval

  23. Jamash (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 1:37 pm

    @ MB: there are no comments held for approval ..
    :( ..

  24. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

    In Peshwar It’s sold as “Karachi ke Mashoor Peshwari Icecream”.

  25. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

    “Karachi” ki Mashoor “Peshawari” Icecream only at “Baloch” Icecream in “Anarkali Bazar”

  26. Monkey (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 5:39 pm

    Brilliant post and brilliant idea for a gift. Shows how different Karachi is from all the rest of the cities of Pakistan.

  27. Yahya (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 5:46 pm
  28. Yahya (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

    “Brilliant post and brilliant idea for a gift. Shows how different Karachi is from all the rest of the cities of Pakistan.”

    Monkey, you obviously haven’t been to another city in Pakistan. :)

  29. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

    Video watching in W-11 :>

  30. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

    DJ College and NED University are a 100+ year old heritage in original shape – and main stream identity of Karachi – ! –

  31. Yahya (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 6:10 am
  32. Yahya (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 6:32 am

    PS: This is Pak Student Union at Imperial College, London trip.

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