Carry some extra coins, bus fares are going up!


KARACHI – There is bad news for all those who travel by bus: fares are set to be raised. What remains uncertain, however, is the exact increment, with the government and transporters still negotiating whether fares will be increased by Rs 2 or by Rs 3, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Sources told Pakistan Today that after the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s (OGRA) decision to increase the price of petrol by Rs 7.23 per litre and diesel by Rs 7.76, provincial authorities have accepted in principle that transporters will increase fare prices since they have no answer to transporters’ concerns.
“The government is comfortable with a two-rupee increase in fares, but transporters want fares to be increased by three rupees. Transport Secretary Iqbal Bablani is scheduled to meet with representatives of the city’s transporters on Wednesday (today) to thrash out details,” sources disclosed.
The transporters, under the aegis of Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI), had already announced on Monday night that they will go on a wheel-jam strike. On Tuesday, they also sent in a proposal demanding a three-rupee increase in fares, as well as clearing the remaining compensation amount of vehicles torched during riots in the city a few months ago.
Sources said transporters’ strike tactic had become a routine matter. Their letter to the government does not mention the strike, but simply informed authorities that fares would be raised after ten days – with or without the authorities’ approval. On the other hand, transport representatives told Pakistan Today that it had become very difficult for them to run their business as the rate of spare parts had been increased in the market.
“Yes, we have submitted a proposal to the Sindh Transport Department, asking them to issue a notification of increase in public transport fares by Rs3 within a period of ten days,” a KTI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today.
The official added that transporters would not issue any wheel-jam strike call or stage any protest against the recent increase of petrol and diesel prices by OGRA, but argued that the price of daily-use commodities would also increase after fuel price hike.