For the second time within a year (from July 2018 to July 2019), the transport mafia in Karachi has raised bus fare by 50% to 100% per commuter per trip without any notification issued by the government. Following the increase in prices of high speed diesel (HSD) and CNG, the operators of Shama Coach, F-11, Daata Coach, W-11, 17-J, S-2, W-21 and various other buses and coaches are now charging an extra Rs10 to Rs20 per commuter and that too on the basis of fake fare lists containing numerous spelling and language errors. In coaches, according to the new fare structure, the maximum fare is Rs50 for every passenger as against the earlier fare of Rs 30, while minibuses are charging Rs45 as the maximum fare that was Rs30 before the recent hike. Similarly, the minimum stop-to-stop fare is set Rs.25 which was Rs15 before. When passengers, including women, children and the elderly, ask the bus conductors to show government notification or decline paying the extra fare, they are forcibly told to leave the bus.
Cashing in on lawlessness and the absence of the state writ, most minibuses and coaches are unashamedly exhibiting fake fare lists to fleece bus commuters by charging them an increased fare on most of the routes in the city. According to passengers, the Imran Khan’s tabdeeli-inspired government has miserably failed to take care of city’s bus commuters who find themselves reeling at the mercy of transport mafia that has gone fearless and has been holding the mega city at ransom since decades in the very presence of concerned transport departments and authorities.
“I travel through, but the way drivers and bus conductors dare to charge an extra amount it exposes the plight of poor commuters who are even asked to get down the bus otherwise. Since the mode of travel is used by the poorest section of society and bearing in mind the poor state of public transport plying on urban and intercity routes, the government should not allow any increase in travelling fare and transporters must be forced to increase the number of vehicles on the roads and improve the condition of their buses,” according to a female commuter, a resident of F.B. Area, who travels through Shama Coach from Sakhi Hassan to FTC bus stop on a regular basis.