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Railways and bus service

Published Jun 24, 2013 08:32am


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IF the extent of deterioration in the standard of public service since independence is to be witnessed, there would be no better examples than Pakistan Railways and Karachi’s bus service.

Viewed alongside the growing sectarian and ethnic strifes, one wonders whether freedom from the colonial rule was worth its while for the common man. The government policies while further enriching the privileged and plundering classes are only making the poor poorer.

The trains and city buses are turning into junk because only the poor are left to use both. The travel by rail is incredibly agonising, and scores of people perched on the roof of ancient buses is a familiar sight in Karachi.

To rehabilitate the railways and to improve the bus service (not in Karachi alone but in every big city), the solutions have to be drastic for the promises and plans have only hastened the rot. Here are just two suggestions.

PIA should be privatised and the proceeds of the sale and the subsidy saved should be diverted to the railways. If Airblue with a much smaller fleet is making money and expanding, the privatised PIA is surely going to be more profitable and efficient.

The city bus should be of special design and specifications and exempted from taxes and levies of all kind. Urban transport is subsidised all over the world. Since it would not be possible for us to manage a running subsidy, one-time concession in the price of city buses should induce the operators to enter this business. No other device has worked. The discontent of the people constantly simmers threatening public order every now and then.

Sectarian and ethnic difference would abate once the state takes care of the basic needs of the people and treats them with compassion and justice.



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Comments (5) Closed

Investor Jun 24, 2013 01:26pm

Itni saari farmaish. LOL...

Agha Ata Jun 24, 2013 05:47pm

It is, as a matter of fact, not the condition of buses and trains that is deteriorating, it is people who wee not ready for independence of this country in the first place. They had no training, not enough eduction to take over from highly trained and highly educated British bureaucrats. Besides all this, there was a general tendency to destroy everything that was British. It included all the good systems in every aspect of the government. It was considered patriotic to do so. As the time went by, lack of normal prudence and foresight showed the result in deterioration. Now conditions have gone so bad, that if IT WAS POSSIBLE, the best way would have been to destroy everything and rebuild the whole country.

msalvi Jun 24, 2013 06:07pm

Nawaz came into power with high hopes of the masses that he will solve the problems of the country. But he has become busy in vendetta (against Musharraf) and is not paying full attention to the gigantic problems that the country is facing. It is so sad and disappointing.

M Aslam Jun 24, 2013 10:56pm

One party of Karachi claims they have 85% mendate from Karachi. I believe within this 85% population there is no criminal. They rule whole country for last 14 years. Their Nazim claims he resolve all issues of Karachi during his mayorship. They have longest served Governor. They have the finest leader, trainer, reformer, preacher who gave fantastic lectures and training almost every day. I wonder what else Karachi need from other part of the country.

jalaluddin S, Hussain Jun 25, 2013 01:49am

I fully endorse the views of Mr.Kunwar Idris, Karachi in his letter entitled: "Railways and bus service", dated June 25, 2013. I generally agree with his views. However, having worked in PIA for more than 10 years myself I can say from personal experience and also can vouch for the fact that during the Managing Directorships of Air Marshal Nur Khan, Air Marshal Asghar Khan and Mr.Shakirullah Durrani, things were quite progressively stable.

I beg to differ most humbly with the writer, regarding the solution for PIA's deteriorating conditions I sincerely feel that privatization is not the only solution. PIA really needs a good Administrator and highly professional team in all the departments. It needs staff selected on merit basis only and not on the basis of political or other connections.

For overseas Pakistani like myself, PIA must continue flying overseas and survive on its own. The Pakistan Railways, however, must get priority on its own merit and not at the cost of PIA.