RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: As the petroleum prices hit all-time high, the salaried class has started to bear the brunt. Transporters are fleecing commuters without an official fare list and have increased the stop-to-stop fare by Rs10 due to the apathy of Regional Transport Authority (RTA).

For the last over a year, the RTA has not issued any fare list and allowed the transporters to fix the fares on their own. Both the previous PTI and the current PML-N governments failed to rein in.

According to law, transporters cannot fix fares and have to follow the official list otherwise the RTA can cancel their route permits. However, in the last one year, the authority did not cancel any route permit and after the recent surge in petroleum prices it did not take any action on complaints of the commuters.

Mohammad Ishaq, a resident of Pakistan Town, said he travels frequently from PWD Society to Islamabad and the public transport wagon charged him Rs50. However, the fare was increased to Rs60 per person on Friday, he added.

“When I asked the driver why they charged more, he replied that petroleum prices had been increased. However, he failed to produce the fare list issued by the RTA,” he said.

Subhan Malik, a resident of Glass Factory, said he worked in Islamabad and the wagon charged him Rs30 from Rawal Road to Faizabad but now they have increased the fare to Rs40. He said many people tried to raise the issue but RTA and the traffic police refused to listen to them.

Mohammad Tauqeer, a resident of Chaklala Scheme-III, said the fare was increased by Rs10 per stop on Friday. He said he went to Raja Bazaar on a van and the driver charged him Rs50 instead of Rs40.

He said the fare had been increased by the transporters but they had no official fare list with them.

Transporters were of the view that prices had increased and it was difficult for them to continue operation in losses. However, they had no answer when asked why they did not reduce the fares in March when the government reduced petroleum prices.

Malik Mehboob, a representative of the Rawalpindi Islamabad Transport Association, said RTA forced the transporters from December to March not to increase fares and did not issue any list but after the new surge in petroleum prices it was difficult for the transporters to continue the old fares.

On the other hand, RTA Secretary Rashid Ali said the authority had sent a summery to the Punjab government to notify new fares. However, other officials of the RTA said in the absence of a provincial transport minister the bureaucracy was reluctant to take decisions and had given a free hand to transporters.

They said most of the public transport vehicles run on CNG but they charged the fares according to petroleum prices and it was the duty of the transport authority to take action.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Miftah’s misery
Updated 06 Jul, 2022

Miftah’s misery

It cannot be easy to be finance minister in times like these, with friend and foe alike gunning for you over difficult decisions.
Phone tapping
06 Jul, 2022

Phone tapping

IT is the season of audio leaks. No sooner does one ‘incriminating’ clip lose its shock value than another...
Transgender job quota
06 Jul, 2022

Transgender job quota

IN a society where transgender persons often face violence and abuse, the Sindh Assembly’s decision to reserve a...
Warming ties
05 Jul, 2022

Warming ties

BILATERAL ties with the US are clearly on the mend after an extensive rough patch under the PTI government. While ...
LNG emergency
Updated 05 Jul, 2022

LNG emergency

The problem is that Pakistan does not have sufficient cash at the moment to buy even a single LNG cargo at present prices.
The invisible half
05 Jul, 2022

The invisible half

WHAT better illustrates the Afghan Taliban’s misogynistic and mediaeval worldview than the fact that not a single...