KARACHI: Despite several efforts by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, some influential private transporters operating bus service between the city and various Balochistan districts continue to board passengers from city areas in violation of a Sindh High Court (SHC) directive.
In a survey conducted by Daily Times, intra-city transporters and passengers complained that illegal operation of Balochistan-bound buses operated from city areas by Al-Saif Travels was a cause of traffic jams and congestion. They said the company was charging a premium fare for operating buses from city areas, instead of the bus terminal designated for inter-city operators. Intra-city travelers and operators were paying the cost due to the resulting traffic congestion that had inflated their fuel bill and added more time to their trips.
Qamar Qureshi, the president of the Economic Forum of Pakistan, an association of businesses, urged that violators should be treated with an iron hand.
The SHC had imposed a ban on establishment and operation of bus stands for inter-city operators inside city areas in 2010. Under the court directive, the KMC then set up a bus terminal, called Yousuf Goth Bus, for Balochistan-bound buses in Baldia Town. Many transporters shifted their operations to the terminal but some influential operators including Al-Saif Travels continue to flout the ban and operate buses from a stand set up in Lea Market. This stand is about eight to nine kilometers away from the designated terminal in Baldia Town but it makes it convenient for passengers from Lyari to board buses without travelling those extra kilometres. Other inter-city bus stands operating in violation of the court directive are in Mauripur and Saddar areas.
After assuming charge of the Mayor’s Office, Waseem Akhtar had set up a Terminal Department in the KMC. The department was put in charge of a project director who was tasked to look after bus and oil terminals and to oversee future planning to build terminals for diverting heavy travelling vehicles (HTV) away from city areas.
On January 8, Raza Haider Razvi, the bus terminals project director at KMC, wrote a letter to the DIG Traffic requesting him to issue directives for the officers concerned to stop bus operations at the illegally set up stands in Lea Market among other city areas.
On February 3, Razvi followed up with letters to the Traffic DIG and the District South senior superintendent of police, seeking measures to stop bus operators from boarding passengers in city areas.
Razvi said the provincial home secretary had also been contacted and requested to take action against the violators.
According to Sindh Local Government Act of 2013, KMC is responsible for public transport affairs.
Published in Daily Times, February 9th2018.