KARACHI: Transport fares, both intra-city and inter-city, have not come down in sync with the substantial fall in petrol and diesel prices. In most cases, in fact, they are same as of July 2014 or crawled up.

Petroleum prices in the country have been reduced thrice since September last year in the wake of more than 50 per cent plunge in international oil prices.

While car and bike owners are enjoying cheaper petrol, the public transport commuters have yet to reap the benefit of cut in diesel price, which has come down from around Rs110 per litre in July to nearly Rs80 now.

Public transport commuters in Karachi are still paying Rs15 to Rs20 for even a small distance of 2-kilometre. “Transporters hasten to raise fares when petroleum prices move upward, even slightly. But there’s no fall in fares when it’s the other way round,” a commuter complained. He said he spent around Rs2,000 monthly on bus fares on commuting to workplace.

However, Karachi Transport Ittehad President Syed Irshad Hussain said that minimum fares of buses and minibuses have been slashed to Rs14-15 from Rs16-17 in July.

He said fares had been reduced despite the fact that “around 90pc of our vehicles are running on CNG”, an argument, commuters say, transporters tend to forget when diesel price go up.

He further claimed that for 30-kilometre distance, the commuters in Karachi were charged only Rs14, while in Lahore the fare was at Rs45.

For inter-city transportation, Sindh Minister for Transport and Mass Transit, Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani, on February 1, 2015 issued a notification, with immediate effect, to slash the fares by 5 to 8pc.

For Karachi to Hyderabad route, a leading transport Co has cut its fares to Rs350 from Rs400. It has also reduced its fares for other destinations.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2015

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