With Qingqis gone, Karachi desperate for other means of transport

Published: August 8, 2015
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PHOTO: epakistannews

PHOTO: epakistannews

PHOTO: epakistannews Drivers holding a protest at Jail Road. PHOTO: ONLINE In the wake of the SHC’s ban on Qingqis, the city’s labour force has been left stranded . ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID
KARACHI: 

Alla Rakhi stood at the bus stop at Pehlwan Goth, frantically scanning the area for a Qingqi to take her to Johar Mor. She works as a maid in several houses. Unfortunately, there was no public transport available to take her to her destination.

The so-called bus stops of Karachi, which had now turned into Qingqi stops, wore a deserted look on Thursday morning. The pathetic excuse of what goes for a transport system of the mega city came crashing down after the Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered to ban the three-wheelers. The bus stops that were once thronged by commuters, wore a deserted look as people desperately climbed onto the rooftops of the few buses to reach their destinations.

Read: Why does this author of 12 books in Faisalabad drive a Qingqi?

According to Rakhi, she spent Rs20 daily on Qingqis to get to work. “The buses take hours to come by and their fares are higher than the Qingis,” she said. When she was told that Qingqis had been banned in the province, she slapped herself on the head miserably and let out a low scream. “They have banned the only mode of transport accessible to the poor,” she cried angrily. “I have been standing for over half an hour and there isn’t any transport to take me to Johar Mor, which is not more than a 10-minute drive from here. I would either have to walk or take a rickshaw,” she complained.

A student of Karachi University, Iqra Saleem, told The Express Tribune that she travelled to the varsity on the Qingqi every day. “Today, there isn’t any vehicle to take me. The rickshaws are charging extremely high rates, armed with the knowledge that they are the only transport left in the city,” she said, urging the government to either introduce the tonga once again or increase the number of public buses.

For his part, the provincial transport secretary, Tuaha Farooqui, claimed that the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) was the only permanent solution for city. He added that work on two of the BRT lines would be kicked off by the end of September.

When asked what the commuters would do until then, since the BRT would take at least three years to be made functional, he said that the transport department was also working to bring public buses on the roads on the public-private partnership model. “The process is in the initial phases and we are drafting the routes of such buses,” he said.

According to him, the Qingqis were extremely dangerous and prone to cause road accidents. Quoting figures from a report of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), he said that most road accidents in the city involved Qingqis. “We have asked the Qingqi association to turn their nine-to-12 seat vehicles into four seats, so that they could be registered, but they don’t listen to us,” he said, adding that they could not let commuters travel on such unsafe rides.

Meanwhile, the Qingqi owners are worried that they have been deprived of their sole source of income. Ashiq Hussain, the owner of two Qingqis in Pehlwan Goth, has planned to shift his Qingqis to rural Sindh. “There isn’t any transport in rural Sindh and I will ply my three-wheelers there,” he said.

Read: Traffic police ill-prepared to enforce ban on Qingqis

Muzamil, who too owns a three-wheeler, said that the government should consider the plight of the thousands of families who are dependent on these Qingqis. “I earn Rs600 daily for my family. What will I do if government stops my sole source of income,” he questioned, urging the government to at least allow them to run the vehicles on smaller roads.

The focal person of the transport department, Yar Muhammad Mirjat, was adamant, however, that as per the SHC’s directives, Qingqis would not be allowed to ply anywhere in the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (11)

  • OBSERVER
    Aug 8, 2015 - 11:34AM

    This was the biggest scam in the history of Pakistan…imagine Qingqis..running without registration,without route permits ,officials of traffic police became billionaires.. Recommend

  • Ibrahim
    Aug 8, 2015 - 12:33PM

    What a pathetic way to support Qingqi which causes severe traffic jams and accident due to very young drivers. No registration due to which stolen/ snatched bikes are used in more then 70% of the Qingqis.Recommend

  • ironMan!
    Aug 8, 2015 - 12:52PM

    I wish some action could be taken against Karachi Bus Transport too, overloading, sitting on roofs, reckless driving, using same model buses since 1947…this mafia should be dealt with too. SHC? Karachi administration? Sindh Govt? Anyone…Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Aug 8, 2015 - 1:43PM

    The solution is creating a bigger problem than that existed. This country is being run by heartless, sadistic jokers. What the poor can do? Even if you want to ban Qingqis give sometime? Don’t just do it?Recommend

  • AsR
    Aug 8, 2015 - 1:49PM

    Japan offered loan of 2.5 billion USD for Karachi metro in 2012 but PPP goverment did not avail it. Local city/provincial government should pursue that project right now.Recommend

  • Good and Bad
    Aug 8, 2015 - 2:35PM

    Good: At last now traffic will be more managed, no chaos.

    Bad: People invested in this business will eventually suffer.

    Enventually only people suffer, The Court should also take action against people behind this scam.Recommend

  • excalibur
    Aug 8, 2015 - 2:49PM

    SHC is foolish to ban the Qingqis which provide an affordable transport to the masses.
    They are convenient and charge a fixed fare unlike the very expensive Rickshaws and Taxis which do not run on meters and charge exorbitantly without any check.

    First provide aan alternative before making such diktats. Why dont the courts rule that all buses, taxis and rickshaws should run on diesel/ petrol instead of CNG when they charge customers on the basis of Diesel /Petrol and not on CNG basis.

    Also their meters should be fixed and proper checks applied

    Transport mafia has got the Qingqis banned on political grounds without being reformed themselvesRecommend

  • Gullu
    Aug 8, 2015 - 2:54PM

    @OBSERVER:
    It was the private sector filling in a vacuum left by a criminally negligent government. It’s no different to how NGOs are the ones that provide ambulance services in this country when everywhere else it is the job of the government. Soon we will have private sector law enforcement as well. Recommend

  • Ali S
    Aug 8, 2015 - 3:19PM

    Before I got my own car a couple years back, I used Qingqis to get to and from university for nearly a year. Although I admit that they’re a traffic nuisance (and possibly made from stolen bikes), they’re an affordable, comfortable form of public transport that are more convenient than minibuses (especially for women) and they shouldn’t have been banned until a proper public transport system is in place. It’s much easier to praise the Qingqi ban when you’re travelling in your own personal vehicle and don’t have to depend on this city’s abysmal public transport system.Recommend

  • Timorlane
    Aug 8, 2015 - 6:17PM

    Japan had offered to build Karachi Circular Railway but they wanted to keep

    the control of money in their hands to keep it safe from the corruption

    of the sindhi rulers of this wadera occupied colony however the

    ruling sindhis seeing no corruption opportunity compelled

    Japanese to take back their offer and abandon

    the project. Sindhis have looted and

    destroyed Karachi like an

    enemy occupied

    territoryRecommend

  • ishrat salim
    Aug 9, 2015 - 5:35PM

    Agree that Qingqis were a nuisance, but it was the most affordable means of transport for the poor public, but before banning them the govt / court should have ensured that alternative & similar means of transportation was in place. One way banning has created a lot of hardship for the poor public who were dependent on this means of transport. It is not understandable what is the court going to achieve with such order, except creation of hardship for the poor public, it is not going to get any appreciation. The court should have given order to the govt to create alternation menas of transport before banning ” Qingqis “. This is no way of showing judicial activism. Recommend

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