Commuters demand separate fare tariff for minibus rooftop

Karachi: Commuters of Karachi have demanded a new concessional bus fare for those commuters who travel by perching of the rooftops of overcrowded minibuses of the city.

Thousands of minibuses ply on different routes of Karachi and almost all of them with commuters sitting on their rooftops. Thirty to thirty five passengers sit on rooftop of each minibus and coach and each pay up to Rs20 per trip. Hence the owners of minibuses get a windfall at the risk of passengers who travel on the minibus rooftops in miserable and dangerous condition.

Aamir, an office worker, said every day hundreds of thousands commuters of Karachi use minibus rooftops to reach their destinations. He said it is a sorry look that commuters of the largest city of Pakistan travel like sheep and goat. He said the traffic police should take a stern action against the owners and operators of minibuses, who violate the traffic rules,

Nabeel, a lawyer, said the Supreme Court of Pakistan has already instructed the Sindh government authorities to remove rooftops from the minibuses in Karachi, but the government machinery does not implement these instructions. He said private transporters of Karachi have become a mafia and no government dares challenging them. He said during the last government, Sindh transport minister failed to deliver, and the sitting provincial government has not even bothered to induct a separate transport minister in provincial cabinet.

Aijaz, a vendor, said transporters pay huge bribes on daily basis. He said every minibus is stopped by traffic sergeants who only take bribe from the overcrowded buses and let them resume their journey in same condition, i.e., commuters sitting on rooftops and travelling on footboards. He said even if minibus drivers are fined the fine amount is very low which every transporter gladly pays. He said unless increasing the amount of fines for traffic violations and taking action against corrupt traffic sergeants, the present condition of public transport in Karachi could not be improved.

Due to overcrowding of minibuses, a new makeshift mode of public transport is introduced in Karachi in the shape of Chingchi motorcycle rickshaws and 12-seater rickshaws who charge Rs10 per passenger and run on different routes including busy M A Jinnah Road. The Green Buses of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) are off road for reasons best known to concerned authorities, despite the fact that billions of rupees were spend to buy them.

The commuters have demanded of the government that if it cannot ban the roof-racks of minibuses and coaches in Karachi it should at least announce a special concessional fare tariff for the commuters who travel by perching on them to create a sense of fare dealing and justice.

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