While the 20 newly-inducted air-conditioned (AC) wagons in Rawalpindi have met the approval of the people, there are many routes still without this facility.
An informal interview conducted by The Express Tribune revealed that most people, though happy with the step, believed that more vans needed to be added the fleet. “Besides facilitating the passengers, it will also be helpful in the hot Ramazan days,” said Zulqarnain Ali, who was travelling by the newly-launched AC coach.
Rawalpindi Transport Authority (RTA) issued the permit to a private company, after they agreed to ply on AC wagons on the route from Raja Bazaar in the old city to Rawat town.
Anas Khan, a commuter said, “This is a good addition to the public transport of the city. The authorities should also arrange for such a facility on other busy routes of the city such as Benazir Butto Road and Peshawar Road.”
He added that the authorities should consider bringing in AC buses instead of wagons, so that more people can benefit from the facility.
RTA Secretary Asad Kazmi said the fare from stop to stop had been fixed at Rs15 and from one end to the other at Rs27; in comparison, wagons without AC charge Rs12 and Rs25 respectively. The government will encourage any private party to introduce AC coaches on other routes of the city as well, Kazmi added.
In response to a question about unavailability of the CNG for two-and-a-half-days a week, the official said the company had agreed in the contract to operate the wagons on petrol. He said random checking will ensure that the air-conditioners in the wagons are operational.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.