Commuters demand justice: Separate bus fares needed for CNG off and on days

Karachi: Commuters of Karachi have demanded of the Sindh government to instruct its transport department to fix bus fares for Karachi on the basis of the use of CNG and end the exploitation of the Karachiites at the hands of private transporters. There should be two separate bus fare slabs, one for the days when CNG is available in the city and the other for the days when CNG is not available, so that both commuters and transporters be given justice and equity.

Important public transport sector in Karachi is monopolized by private transporters who are called transporter mafia by the citizens. These transporters brutally exploit the commuters of Karachi by charging bus fares on the basis of diesel use, while in fact they use cheap CNG. However, the provincial government of Sindh willingly turns the blind eye towards this exploitation of commuters as the transporters are known to be very good payers of bribes.

However, a faction of transporters named Karachi Transport Action Committee is in favor of slashing bus fares in Karachi. Action Committee president Muhammad Ashraf Banglori said transporters earn extra profit of Rs1500 to Rs2000 per day per vehicle by using cheap CNG and charging fare on the basis of the usage of costly diesel. He said this extra profit should be shared with commuters and they should be provided immediate relief. He said if the transport department, government of Sindh, issues a notification for reduction of bus fares in Karachi, the Karachi Transport Action Committee would fully support it.

Karachi Commuters’ Rights Campaign, a body of commuters’ rights, says the public transport sector in Karachi needs a complete overhauling. The public transport sector of the city needs modernization and the city commuters be provided urban commuting facilities like other major urban metropolitan cities. Karachi needs underground metro rail project to mitigate the sufferings of millions of commuters. The surface rail-based Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) should be revived. The important transport department should be given to an able and competent administration, who have proper vision of the urban public transport needs. There should be a proper color code for all types of public transport vehicles in Karachi. The fare difference between minibuses and coaches be abolished and the coaches should be given proper route numbers. The bus fare should be solely calculated on the basis of CNG usage, with a provision for one-day a week CNG closure day on which majority of the public transporters keep their minibuses parked, and a few others run their vehicles on petrol, who should be given its relief in fare calculation and allowed to charge more fare only on the CNG closure days, but overall the bus fares in Karachi should be based on the use of CNG. Moreover, there should be only two stages in bus fares: one for destinations up to two bus stops and other for the destination for more than two bus stops.

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