As people prepare to leave for home to celebrate Eid with their families, transporters are doing their best to fleece them for all their worth.
Commuters complain that transport costs are too high and they can barely afford to visit their loved ones. Taxi fare from Rawalpindi to Islamabad costs as high as Rs300 to Rs400 per visit. It is still comparatively cheaper to travel by van for Rs30 to Rs40 per visit, but the cost multiplies with the number of family members.
Bilal, a taxi driver hailing from Peshawar, said it costs between Rs200 to Rs220 per head to travel from Islamabad to Peshawar. It is still cheaper for individuals and especially families to travel inter-city by vans, but fares have increased as access to CNG has become increasingly limited, he added.
“CNG rates vary from Rs60 to Rs65 per kilogram, but it is only available once a week and that too for only six hours from 9am to 3pm.” It will however be available round the clock during Eid holidays in Punjab, according to a notification.
Riyasat from Taxila, who works at a private residence in Islamabad said that he was often unable to take his family for a day out as fares are unbearably high.
Ashiq Abbasi, a driver at a residence in Rawalpindi stated that it was very difficult for him to regularly see his family in Murree as travel by public transport was practically unaffordable. He said he was unable to match the lifestyle of his employers who travel by car. Petrol prices have been reduced recently from Rs114 per litre to Rs107.97 per litre, but most public transport vehicles run on diesel.
Zohair Waheed, assistant manager at SPARC said international oil prices control the price of petrol and diesel in the market. According to Waheed, there is not much that anyone can do about the increased prices of oil as Pakistan itself is still a developing country and the economy is in a deplorable condition. An anonymous source at Shell said 26 per cent of the price of petrol was made up of government taxes.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.