Toll on the poor man’s pocket!


Twenty-eight toll plazas, one on each exit, have been constructed on the Ring Road and apart from collecting tax ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 150, they will also stop motorbikes, rickshaws, motorcycle rickshaws, cycles and donkey carts.
The toll has been set at Rs 10 for cars, Rs 20 for mini-buses and vans, Rs 50 for AC buses, Rs 60 for small trucks and Rs 100. The decision has faced a severe reaction from the owners of these vehicles who have said they were being deliberately barred from using the facility when they were paying the tax for it too.
“How are we expected to travel then if we can’t use this facility?” said Rehmat Ali, who owns a motorbike only, adding “We are charged with the same tax why can’t we use the Ring Road to shorten the distance we travel?”
“I was hoping that I will get to earn more on the Ring Road since passengers would choose to take the shorter, newer route,” said Rafiq Ahmed, a motorcycle rickshaw driver, adding “I didn’t know we’ll be barred from it altogether.”
“Since they have imposed a tax, we are going to have to increase the fares,” said Muhammad Waseem, a passenger bus driver. “With the petrol prices increasing at the present rate, we are going to have to increase fares in any case,” he said.
“They have banned all the vehicles the poor people use,” said Amna Bibi, who lives in the Railway Quarters and travels by a bus and a motorcycle rickshaw daily. “How can the government claim to be our ‘friend’ when they aren’t even willing to solve our problems?” she asked.
When contacted, an official in the Ring Road security asking not be named said, “It is for the people’s good and it will make the Ring Road more secure.”