RAWALPINDI: The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has allegedly given a free hand to transport mafia for fleecing the passengers in across the district as the transporters are charging old fares despite a slash in petroleum prices by the government. Similarly, the taxi cabs and rickshaw owners are following the footprints of Suzuki, Toyota Hiace and mini buses and wagons by charging the very high fares from passengers in the district. No action is taken against the defiant transporters by Secretary RTA District Office even on the written complaints of the victim passengers. The passengers lashed out at RTA high ups and demanded Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shehbaz Sharif and Secretary Transport Shaukat Khan to take strict action against them and the transporters who have been looting them (the passengers) with both hands by charging old fares. The government had issued revise fare lists for all the routes in the city reducing the fares as per pertrolium prices, however, the RTA badly failed in implementing the new fare lists, they said. Talking to The patriot on saturday, a large numbers of passengers lodged complaints that the Secretary RTA District has failed in implementing the new fare lists issued by the government. They said that the Suzuki owners plying on various routes including 22 Number to Dhamial, Hayyal, Chakri Road, Saddar to Tench Bhatta, Peoples Colony, Bakra Mandi, Iqbal Colony, Dhoke Syedan, Baraf Khana Chowk, Girja and Toyota Hiace owners moving on routes numbers 1, 1C, 7, 21 and 24 have refused new fare lists and charging old fares even forcefully. “Drivers and conductors either abuse or throw the passengers out of the vehicle who refuse to pay them the old fare,” they lamented.
Ismail Khan, an employee in 502 Workshop, told this scribe that he daily traveled between Dhamial to Chungi Number 22 on Suzukis fare of which has been fixed Rs 16 by the government. He said that the conductors have been charging Rs 20 instead of Rs 16 which was sheer violation of the government orders. He said that the drivers and conductors misbehaved with those passengers who did not pay them the old fare. “I pay Rs 35 to the conductor of Toyota Hiace of route number 7 from Saddar to Rawat,” Rizwan, security guard, said while informing that the revised fare was Rs 27 fixed by the government. He added that he lodhed several complaints with Secretary RTA Office besides providing registration numbers of vehicles but in vein. He said that the inspectors of RTA were relucting to touch the owners of vehicles of route 7 who were busy in looting passengers at Katcheri Chowk, where Secretary RTA Office was also located. Zubair Ahmed, a passenger travelling in a Suzuki from Saddar to 22 Number, told that the conductor took Rs 20 from him which was the old fare. He said that he was threatened of fire consequences by the driver when he protested against the looting spree of transport mafia. Aisha Batool, a university student, was of view that the drivers and conductors of vehicles playing on route 1 were also violating the new fare lists by charging old fares. The government reduced stop to stop fare by 7 percent but no transporter was following the orders, she said demanding CM Mian Shehbaz Sarif to take notice of the looting spree of transporters. As the government had announced to reduce petroleum prices by February 1, it seemed the transporters would not reduce the fair and kept charging the old fares, said Amir Khan, Murad Ali, Shafqat Hussain and Ali Kazmi, the students of a private college. They said that they were planning to launch a protest movement against the RTA and transport mafia for overcharging. “I hired a taxi cab from Katcheri to Saddar against Rs 150. The driver started quarreling with me when I tried to convince him to low the fare as per new petroleum prices,” said Rana Jabbar, a lawyer in district court. He said that the taxi cab owners were also charging old fares and no legal authority taking action against them. Chatting to The Patriot Secretary RTA Awais Manzoor Tarar also admitted the defiance of transporters. He, while expressing his helplessness, said that the transporters in meetings with him claimed that the government reduced the fares in accordance with the petrol prices which was not acceptable for them. He, however, claimed that his teams were checking several 4 to 6 routes on daily bases and capturing vehicles involved in violation of fare lists. “RTA in last two months issued fine tickers to some 1300 vehicles and impounded a total of 560 vehicles besides collecting Rs 9, 34, 000 as fine,” he said. On a query, Awais replied that the taxi cabs and rickshaw owners could not be brought under any law to reduce their fare.
In survey conducted by The Patriot people request to present govt that after decreasing the petrol prices which are good step by govt .Govt should take serious notice on fare by RTA.