KARACHI: Minibuses and coaches in the megacity are charging more fare illegally and commuters are being exploited as the provincial transport department is not taking action to implement government-fixed fares of minibuses.
Minibuses and coaches have raised their fare on their sweet will by Rs5 to Rs10 without any approval from the government. They say they have increased the fare on their own due to hike in oil and gas tariffs. However, when commuters demand to show them fare list, they are not being provided.
Staff of minibuses and coaches not only charge more fare, but also misbehaves with commuters, said a government teacher requesting anonymity. He said he is a regular commuter and he witnesses the humiliation of commuters in coaches and minibuses of Karachi on daily basis. He said the government is often seen nowhere is our society, but in the case of public transport of Karachi there seems no government and no governance.
Pasban e Pakistan (PDP) President Altaf Shakoor said that the commuter rights in Karachi are a neglected subject for both provincial and federal government. He said the megacity needs mega attention, but Prime Minister Imran Khan seems preoccupied with other issues. He said Karachi has never been amongst the priority of the provincial government. He said crucial public transport sector is the lowest performing sector in the megacity.
He said Karachi has given a heavy mandate to the PTI and it is strange that why the PTI government is neglected Karachi. He said public transport sector in Karachi needs a complete overhauling. He said the government should introduce new bus system, while reviving the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) on priority.
He said it is a matter of concern that smaller cities like Multan and Rawalpindi have even more better public transport than megacity Karachi. He said the federal and provincial governments should stop meting out step motherly treatment to Karachi and give a serious and urgent focus to its civic issues, particularly public transport.
Justice Helpline President Nadeem A Sheikh said the citizens who came to Karachi to see PSL matches from other parts of the country were disappointed to see pathetic public transport system of Karachi. He said practically there is no check and balance over public transport sector.
He said conductors freely charge more fare without issuing fare tickets. He recalled that forty years ago taxis and rickshaws in Karachi used to run as per meter and buses and minibuses used to give passengers tickets after charging fare. He said whole world is advancing but Karachi is going back to medieval period, especially in case of public transport.
He said both federal and provincial governments are not ready to revive the KCR or finish Green Line bus project as per its schedule. He said Karachi is perhaps only megacity of the world which has no rapid bus system.
He said even forty years ago, Karachi has a dedicated fleet of thousands of buses of defunct Karachi Transport Corporation (KTC), but now the city road witness the rejected and road-unfit vehicles oaf whole Pakistan, especially KpK province and these dangerously unfit vehicles are allowed to freely play on streets of this megacity.
He requested the Sindh transport secretary to take notice of the public transport issues of the megacity and do the needful to facilitate commuters in larger public interest.