KARACHI: Although the Peoples Bus Service (PBS) has brought some relief to the Karachiites with modern buses, there are some incidents that could be avoided if the staff concerned behaved with decency with commuters.

Sharing the details of a recent unpleasant incident on a Red Bus with Dawn, a passenger said the bus crew misbehaved with his fellow travellers when they asked the driver to open the door to get down few minutes before sunset.

“We were virtually detained inside the bus, as the driver and the other crew blatantly brushed aside the passengers’ request to open the doors,” he said.

“I was travelling along with 20 passengers via Sharea Faisal towards Tower, with around 25-30 minutes left in Iftar. The driver was steering the bus considerably sluggishly,” the passenger told this reporter. “After a while, several passengers urged the driver to accelerate a bit, but the calls fell on deaf ears,” the passenger continued.

“As the bus was nearing Shaheen Complex, a commuter pressed the door-bell button to get off. The driver not only refused to open the [automatic] door, but also rushed towards that passenger along with a person in plain clothes, and argued in a highly belligerent manner,” he detailed.

Official says Peoples Bus Service commuters can lodge official complaint regarding quality of service

“Meanwhile, another passenger bluntly asked the driver to open the door, and when the latter did not, the passenger got involved in a strong verbal spat with the bus crew.

“There was jostling and pushing [between the bus crew and some passengers] for five to seven minutes, during which the bus remained stationary at the Shaheen Complex signal, before the doors were finally opened,” he said.

According to the same person, the driver and his crew also hurled verbal threats at some passengers who had earlier objected to slow driving.

“The PBS is a good addition [by the Sindh government] to the massively suffering passengers of a mega city like Karachi. However, the quality of the service needs to be improved drastically,” the passenger emphasised.

When approached for comments, an official of the Sindh transport department said in several similar cases fault lies on either side.

“Generally some passengers [in our society] at times adopt impolite behaviour towards the bus crew, even on trivial matters, which sometimes results in a harsh reaction from the crew,” the official told Dawn.

“In [another] recent incident like this in Karachi, there was a university professor who had a physical altercation with PBS crtew on a minor issue. When it was brought into our knowledge, we took appropriate steps to defuse the matter which was getting serious,” he added.

When the official was told that several passengers (of the bus mentioned earlier) expressed their grievance about the highly objectionable and threatening behaviour of some members of the PBS crew, the official said there was a set procedure for addressing the issue.

“If PBS passengers have any genuine concern regarding the quality of service, they can complain officially. It would surely be looked into by the authorities concerned,” the official concluded.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2023

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