PESHAWAR: Passengers have expressed their concerns over the security of non-commercial vehicles travelling from Peshawar to major cities of Pakistan.
Non-commercial vehicles offer a more comfortable journey but also charge almost triple of what public transport fares cost. Moreover, fitness certificates which ensure buses or vans are environment-friendly and fulfil safety and regulatory requirements are hardly issued to them.
The provincial metropolitan has over 15 illegal terminals for non-commercial rented cars. Passengers prefer to travel in these vehicles.
Each car carries four passengers to and from all major cities of Pakistan including Swat, Rawalpindi, Timergara, Abbottabad, Chitral, Mansehra, Quetta and Lahore.
However, passengers have shown concerns regarding the failure to issue vehicle fitness certificates to these road runners and also flayed the level of indifference shown by authorities towards fares they charge.
“These [private cars] are playing with the lives of passengers,” Malak Ibrar, a resident of Lower Dir who regularly travels via rented car told The Express Tribune. “All vehicles used CNG but drivers and owners never bothered to check fitness of their vehicles.”
He demanded all non-commercial vehicles used for public transport be regularised and issued proper permit letters and fitness certificates.
Ibrar also said the government needs to improve public transportation system so passengers could travel in them comfortably. “Rented cars charge thrice as much as general transport fares which even middle class families could not afford,” he added.
Matter of jurisdiction
An official at the transport department, who is entitled to issue fitness certificates to commercial vehicles, told The Express Tribune that issuing fitness certificates to non-commercial vehicles did not fall within their domain.
“The jurisdiction to issue them certificates falls under Regional Transport Authority (RTA),” he said. “They decide whether or not to issue them [non-commercial vehicles] permit letters to use vehicles for public transport.”
He added the fitness department was entitled to check commercial vehicles used for public transportation only and to issue fitness certificates to them alone. He said, “The entire private rent-a car travel to and from the city but do not have any fitness certificates.”
The official told The Express Tribune the fitness department did not have the authority to issue fitness certificates to non-commercial vehicles.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has devised a policy to regularise non-commercial vehicles.
K-P RTA Superintendent Fazlur Rehman told The Express Tribune a policy for all non-commercial vehicles to have permit letters issued by RTA along with fitness certificates has been formulated and would soon be implemented.
Explaining the transport policy briefly, Rehman said all rented cars used for transport will be painted yellow and their drivers will be required to wear proper uniforms.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2016.