Representational image. PHOTO: FILE

Passengers in a fix after inter-city bus services suspended

With businesses closing, workers from outside the metropolis unable to return home

Kashif Hussain March 21, 2020
KARACHI: As the Sindh government's ban on inter-city bus services came into effect on Thursday, dozens of passengers found themselves stranded in the metropolis, unable to return to their homes.

With non-essential businesses too shut down in the province, several workers who had travelled to Karachi from different parts of the country sought to return to their hometowns, but in vain. Meanwhile, patients and their caretakers, visiting the provincial capital for treatment also faced difficulties in getting back home.

"My six-year-old nephew, who is suffering from bone marrow cancer, was declared untreatable and discharged from the government hospital," Gul Muhammad, a resident of Mehar, told The Express Tribune. "His family has been running from one bus station to another with the ailing boy, trying to go back home, but they are stranded in Karachi."

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Meanwhile, with large buses and coaches restricted from leaving or entering cities, the drivers and owners of small vans have taken the opportunity to turn a profit, raising their fares.

From Karachi to Hyderabad, drivers are charging Rs600 instead of Rs300, while it costs Rs1,000 instead of Rs450 to travel to Nawabshah, Rs900 instead of Rs400 to reach Tando Allahyar, and Rs1,600 instead of Rs800 to get to Sukkur. Meanwhile, taxi drivers too have hiked their fares.

Moreover, the closure of these bus services has left many drivers and cleaners unemployed and far from home. A number of drivers claimed that in the wake of the ban, the traffic police were impounding vehicles and handing out challans. As a result, they said, they couldn't even drive home in empty buses.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2020.


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