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ISLAMABAD: Following Rs 48 per litre reduction in petrol price and Rs 26 per litre in high-speed diesel (HSD) price during the current month, the public transporters plying intercity and intracity routes have marginally reduced fares but not as per expectations of the masses, Business Recorder has observed.

During this month the government has twice brought down the petrol and HSD prices as on October 1, petrol price was cut by Rs 8 per litre and HSD by Rs 11 per litre. Again on October 16, the petrol price was reduced by Rs 40 per litre and HSD by Rs 15 per litre.

During Business Recorder’s visit to leading bus terminals plying intercity and intracity routes, it was observed that most of the transporters have reduced their fares while some have declined to reduce, saying that they are still bearing high costs of other inputs. It was also noted that goods transporters have not reduced their fares, while traders and retailers have asked for an immediate reduction in goods transport fares.

Moreover, Pakistan Railways (PR) has also not provided any relief to commuters travelling between various parts of the country following Rs 26 per litre cut in diesel price, while PR has twice increased the passenger fares in September. The PR officials said that the management has as yet not considered any option of reducing the fares.

Skyways, Faisal Movers, and other transporters operating intercity have brought down their fare from Islamabad to Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot, and other cities by Rs 100 while mini buses and vans operating intracity have cut their fares by five percent. However, rickshaw, bikers, and motorcycle rickshaw operators have not reduced their fares. Before the reduction in fuel prices stop-to-stop fare of a local van was Rs40 which now has reduced to Rs35, while online taxi services are still charging the old fares.

Buses and Hiaces operating in hilly areas such as Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Areas have not passed on the benefit to the masses as a coaster is still charging Rs750 per passenger from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad.

The transporters who have not reduced the fares are arguing that the decrease wasnot enough to merit a fare reduction.

It was also noted that vehicles using CNG as fuel are charging almost half fare as compared with HSD or petrol. A majority of the buses operating between Punjab, Islamabad to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are using CNG. A vehicle on petrol or HSD was charging Rs 1,000 per passenger from Islamabad to Jehlum while covering some 160-kilometer distance while a CNG-based vehicle was charging Rs 450 from Islamabad to Mardan while covering the same distance.

On the other hand, traders and retailers of various goods have urged the government to compel good transporters to reduce their fares in accordance with the reduction in fuel prices. They said that goods transporters were wasting no time in hiking the fares while despite a significant reduction in fuel prices, they have not reduced the fares.

It was also observed that truckers operating from Karachi to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have not reduced their fares, arguing that heavy transport were on diesel and the rate of diesel was reduced only by Rs 15 per litre, so there would be no significant difference in the fares of goods transporters.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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