Public transporters to be barred from metro bus route

A view of an under construction section of the metro bus flyover.—APP

 

RAWALPINDI: Once the Metro Bus Service gets going, all other public transport will be barred from Murree Road.

This is decision the Rawalpindi Transport Authority (RTA) has conveyed to public transporters. They have been told that they will be allotted new routes for their buses, wagons and Suzuki vans that carry commuters within Rawalpindi and to Islamabad via the Murree Road.

Naturally, public transporters are alarmed at the prospect of losing their current, lucrative routes.

A senior official of the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR), however, defended the decision.

“If the RTA lets the public transport vehicles run on Murree Road, short distance passengers will use them rather than the Metro bus. That would leave the metro buses running almost empty within Rawalpindi city, except for the Islamabad-bound passengers in them,” he told ….

 

“The government wants the Metro Bus to be seen as a big success and not the butt of criticism after spending billions of rupees on the project,” he said.

President of the Muttahida Transport Association for Rawalpindi-Islamabad, Raja Riaz, however, says RTA’s decision is “discriminatory”.

“By changing our routes, the government in effect will be granting monopoly to its venture instead of providing equal opportunity to all in the (transport) business,” he told Dawn.

“We opposed the idea in our meeting with the RTA and have written to the district coordination officer and Commissioner of Rawalpindi to revive the old route of Murree Road,” he said.

Raja Riaz recalled that the Musharraf led government had done same in the year 2000 “to benefit Varan Bus Service”, but the Supreme Court upheld the public transporters’ plea and restored the old routes to them.


Officials say govt wants metro to do well; transporters say decision tantamount to creating monopoly

More than 2,000 public transport vehicles currently ply on the Murree Road. “If that route is closed to us, the public and the public transporters both will suffer financially,” he said

Already, the mayhem of the Metro construction work on the Murree Road had pinched public transporters’ income.

But closing the road to private buses, wagons and Suzukis completely will mean low-income people paying higher fare for short distances and the public transporters losing passengers. 

For example, he said, a commuter going to Sadiqabad from Waris Khan will use Metro Bus upto Chandani Chowk and then board a Suzuki van to Sadiqabad.

RTA Secretary Awais Manzoor Tarar, however, stood firm by the ban decision.

“We will allot public transport alternate routes for feeding the Metro Bus Service,” he said. Three new routes are planned for the purpose while other routes would also be changed “for better transport services in Rawalpindi”.

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