Transport woes: Judges say there’s a limit to how long a bus can carry on

Court orders govt to set an ‘age-limit’ on public vehicles in the city.

Naeem Sahoutara December 19, 2012

KARACHI: The old but shiny, obsolete but embellished public buses frequently break down. Many regularly go to hospitals [automobile workshops] and “get well” soon to make their return. But now, the Sindh High Court wants the government to set an “age-limit” on public vehicles.

The court has directed the transport secretary to form a committee to devise a mechanism to take up the issues of public and private transport fitness examination and vehicle-age tests. Chief Justice Mushir Alam, who headed the bench, passed this order while heading a petition seeking action against worn-out public buses in Karachi.

Muhammad Ramzan Khan, the petitioner, has taken the authorities to court for failing to improve the public transport sector. Age-old, shabby vehicles are running in the city, polluting the environment with exhaust fumes and noise as well, he contended. “[But] the traffic police are hands in glove with the transporters and take no action against the outdated vehicles,” he alleged.

On Tuesday, the Motor Vehicle Inspection SP appeared on behalf of the Traffic DIG in the court. The existing motor vehicle laws do not include the age or life limitation of the vehicle and unless such provisions are not included in the law, the traffic police cannot control them, he stated. Until December 14, a total of 63,772 vehicles were inspected. Of them 6,998 vehicles were rejected, the SP stated. However, the judges observed that no statistics were available to show whether such vehicles were operating or what measures were taken to prevent such vehicles from coming back on the roads.


Many departments, such as traffic, transport, excise and taxation, and licencing departments, are involved but there is no coordination or mechanism to bring them together, Miran Muhammad Shah, the additional advocate general, pointed out.

Unless one-window and one-roof operation is provided no efforts can yield results and the situation will remain disorganised as it is, the judges observed.

The bench issued notice to the Sindh transport secretary to form a committee of all department heads.

It will examine the measures that may be taken to streamline and carry out a more concerted operation to meet the challenges of public and private transport. The committee shall also consider proposals for amendment of rules and measures that may be taken to overcome the shortcomings.

The hearing was adjourned indefinitely.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2012.


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