Following the hike in fuel prices, local transporters in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have unilaterally increased the fare by up to Rs10 as authorities concerned failed to
The fare from one stop to the other has been increased by Rs10 without waiting for the official nod.
A huge number of citizens, mostly lower- and middle-income groups, use public transport, but the sudden increase has made a hole in their pocket.
A passenger, Muhammad Sagheer, a security guard at a private company, said that he has to take two buses to reach his destination. He said the fare from one stop to the other was Rs20, which has now been increased to Rs30. “The daily commute cost of my fare has jumped to Rs120, which I cannot afford to pay,” he said.
The security guard said that he has to spend Rs3,600 for travelling, the food cost him almost the same amount separately while he earns only Rs18,000 per month.
He demanded of the authorities to immediately take action against the transporters for the unilateral increase in the fare, which will take a toll on the poor.
Read Transporters demand increase in fares
Mushtaq Butt, a wagon driver, said he has been driving on different routes of Islamabad and Rawalpindi for the past 15 years, but this time around, every section of society was in dire straits due to disorderly inflation.
Butt said that the fare of public transport had been increased due to hike in fuel prices. The wagon driver said that besides fuel prices, rates of vehicle spare parts have also risen.
He said that drivers have to make a monthly payment to the vehicle owners, besides earning for their own salaries and conductors’ expenditure.
Butt contended that increasing fare was the only option for the transporters to meet their expenses or else they would have to face huge losses.
In this regard, Rawalpindi Regional Transport Authority (RTA) Secretary Arshad Ali said that they have deployed teams at different bus stops to restrain transporters from charging an extra fare.
He claimed the teams imposed heavy fines on transporters during surprise checking who had increased the fares without permission.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2021.