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January 2, 2015

Transporters refuse to reduce fares


January 2, 2015

Representatives of public transport services in Karachi have refused to reduce travel fares despite the 13 percent slash in petroleum prices announced by the federal government.
The Sindh Transport Department on Thursday issued a notification asking all transporters to reduce fares by 20 percent in lieu of the drop in national petroleum prices. However, the transporters refused on the grounds that public transport vehicles were operating on Compressed Natural Gas, prices for which have stayed the same.
Irshad Bukhari, president of the Karachi Transport Ittehad, while taking to The News said most of the public buses used CNG but their fares were calculated on the basis of diesel consumption. He said there had been no change in CNG prices so it was unlikely that the transporters would follow the government’s directive for fare reduction.
However, he said, an emergency meeting of transporters’ organisations had been called on Friday (today) to discuss the matter further.
The provincial government reassessed the rates of public transport plying on inter-city routes with immediate effect, in the wake of another major drop in POL prices.
According to a notification issued by the transport department, the fare for air-conditioned coaches and HiAce vans has been decreased to Rs1.40 per kilometre, while the rate of non-air-conditioned vehicles has decreased from 82 paisas per kilometre to 75 paisas.
The notification also called for a reduction in school van fares by 20 percent with immediate effect. The notification has been forwarded to all educational institutions for implementation when they reopen after summer vacation on January 12.
Meanwhile, according to an agreed-upon formula of gradual decrease in fares up to 20 percent between the government and transporters as mentioned in the notification, there will be an eight percent reduction in goods’ transport fares to help decrease the prices of daily commodities such as

edible items.
This decision was taken after the provincial government’s transport and mass transit department consulted with representatives of the Karachi Goods Carrier Association and United Good Transporters Alliance.
Speaking to The News, Khalid Khan of the Goods Transport Association said an emergency meeting was being convened on Friday to discuss the issue because transporters had reduced fares by 20 percent according to the reduction in prices. “We have reduced prices up to 20 percent but the effect does not seem to be trickling down to the people,” he said.
“The prices of essential commodities are constantly increasing and there is no check by the government to implement its own orders. We are following the regulations while no action is being taken against traders and factory owners who are reluctant to reduce prices for their products. We have talked to the transport secretary and commissioner Karachi on this sensitive issue and will further discuss it on Friday.”

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