I USE the inter-city bus service to travel to my village in Dadu district from Karachi. Normally the fare is around Rs700 but owing to Eidul Fitr — as always — it was doubled to Rs1,400.
This time the coach owners took an oath from the passengers at the Sohrab Goth bus stand that they were willingly paying the increased fare or they should disembark. The reason — the motorway police were stopping vehicles at Toll Plaza and asking passengers whether they had paid excess charges.
However, at Toll plaza some passengers did complain to the motorway police about paying higher fares but the policemen said all they could do was force the vehicle to return to the bus depot. Naturally no passenger wanted to take the risk of being offloaded. The passengers who spoke up against overcharging were mistreated by the coach staff and forced to disembark at Sehwan round midnight when their destination was Larkana.
The motorway police need to either exert their authority with full force or else don’t put the lives of citizens in jeopardy by strutting around and not imposing the state’s diktat.
Abid Hussain Soomro
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019