RAWALPINDI, Nov 6: Pakistan Railways has lost attraction for passengers going to their hometowns on the occasion of Eid due to its poor condition.
Unlike previous Eid days, the passengers preferred public transport to reach their hometowns in other parts of the country.
The railways managed to run two special trains from Rawalpindi to Multan and Lahore on Saturday and Sunday but very few passengers turned up to catch the trains.
The special Eid train for Lahore left at 2pm on Sunday with only 200 passengers against its capacity of 600 passengers while there were 300 passengers on board the special train for Multan having the capacity of 650 passengers.
The frequent failures of engines and trains running behind the schedule have kept the passengers away from this mode of cheap transportation, especially during Eid days.
“We are going to Gujrat on train today as we failed to get holiday on Saturday. There was shortage of wagons and buses and I had no option but to travel by train,” said Ajmad Qureshi, a passenger at the railway station.
Another passenger going to Lahore, Naseem Butt, said he took the risk of travelling to Lahore by train as there was no seat available in buses. He said the government should improve the condition of the railways to provide better facility to the people.
Fareed Ahsan, another passenger, said the fare of buses and wagons had gone up and he could not afford to buy tickets for his nine-member family and also decided to travel by train.
When contacted, Divisional Superintendent Munawar Shah admitted that the train to Lahore had failed to attract the number of passengers like previous years. However, he said, the Multan-bound train had got good response. “You will see the change in near future as Pakistan Railways is taking a number of steps to improve its condition,” he said.
The official said after rolling out five locomotives, they were able to run two special trains on Eid. The confidence of people would gradually restore, he added.
Mr Shah said Pakistan Railways had also restored two regular trains from Rawalpindi to Lahore - at 7am and 4pm - which had been suspended one month back.
Meanwhile, rush of passengers was witnessed at bus and wagon terminals at Peshawar Road, Soan River, Pirwadhai and Faizabad. People complained that the transporters were overcharging.
“There is shortage of buses for Karachi, Multan, Lahore, Sargodha, Peshawar and other cities. The tickets are available on double rates,” said Mohammad Tauseef.
Regional Transport Authority Secretary Syed Asad Kazmi said due to stoppage of trains, the rush at bus terminals had increased. He said the RTA had issued extra route permits to buses and wagons to facilitate the passengers.
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