Inter-city passengers pray they do not have to wait long and are able to quickly board their vehicles.
This is due to the lack of required facilities including sheds and waiting rooms at the bus stand in this model city of Mirpur.
While transporters have erected sheds on their own, most passengers have to wait without shade for hours to board a bus in the heat.
The Mirpur bus stand is dilapidated, despite the fact that it generates an annual income of millions of rupees for the municipal corporation in the form of taxes.
The heaps of filth at various places in and around the stand and overflowing sewerage lines also make the wait unbearable for passengers.
Vendors selling adulterated food items at the stand are also considered to be a great nuisance by passengers and most of them have no choice but to buy whatever snacks are available.
Moreover, there is no regard for passenger safety as transporters overload their vehicles. Passengers are accommodated on seats exceeding the officially approved number to extract maximum profit.
Transporters fix additional seats in their vehicles after getting a fitness certificate from the Motor Vehicle Examiners.
They also overcharge their passengers, disregarding the fare fixed by the Regional Transport Authority.
When contacted Administrator City Municipal Corporation Muhammad Mansha said that since he has recently taken over charge, he was still planning how to improve services at the bus stand to redress grievances of passengers.
Talking to the media on Monday, he admitted that the public’s complaints were genuine and said the municipal corporation will construct and renovate waiting rooms and other required infrastructure to facilitate passengers, but he did not say when the project would be initiated.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) transport minister Tahir Khokher said that the recently-constituted mobile squads comprising officials of AJK transport authority and traffic police will conduct surprise raids to check violations and ensure the laws are implemented.
Khoker said the government was preparing an integrated plan to improve the condition of the bus stands in AJK, including Mirpur – the city of over a million expatriates.
He said that the government would discourage overloading and overcharging by public transporters in the state.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.
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