People from all walks of life have demanded reduction in public transport fares, following the recent reduction in fuel prices. They observed that transport fares are upped whenever fuel prices increase, but this time, the transporters are reluctant to lower them. This has caused problems for the commuters.
“How can transporters refuse to decrease fares when the fuel prices have been halved? The government and transport authorities should take action and put an end to this practice,” Siyab Khan, a resident of Kanju, told The Express Tribune. Earlier, he had a quarrel with a conductor over negotiating fares.
“It is becoming increasing difficult to commute from Mingora to Kalam in public vans. Each passenger has to pay Rs250 and to spend so much on regular travel is uncomfortable,” said Nazir Lalami, a resident of Kalam. “Going to Mingora means spending over Rs600, as we have to spend on other basic commodities too,” he said. Furthermore, college and university students are facing problems due to the exorbitant fares, he added.
Locals have appealed to the government and Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to issue orders to reduce the fares to Rs150 per passenger. On the other hand, the District Transport Association has refused to decrease fares.
“The conditions of the roads are so bad that one trip to Kalam creates multiple faults in the vehicles. We have to keep in mind many other maintenance expenses as well,” said a member of the Kalam Transport Association.
“The RTA has nothing do with setting fares, rather that is up to the driver or owner of the vehicle. But the government needs to issue a fixed fare list to the transporters and ensure that they follow it,” said Rozi Khan, a social activist. Despite repeated attempts on their phones, the RTA authorities could not be contacted.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2012.
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