Due to the recent massive hikes in fuel costs have adversely hit the routine life of the people. Pakistan has witnessed three massive hikes in fuel costs since May 20, 2022. Petrol and diesel prices have crossed Rs. 230/liter and Rs. 260/liter respectively, causing motorists across several big cities to shift to public transport.
Nearly 100,000 Intracity Travelers Have Switched to Public Transport
According to a recent report, around 100,000 intracity travelers in Multan, Lahore, and Rawalpindi have started relying on BRT, intracity train, and feeder bus services.
A senior official from Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMTA) stated, “While observing the passengers’ ratio, we have found the addition of around 75,000 passengers daily into our intra-city transport systems – Orange Line Metro Train (Ali Town-Dera Gujran), Metrobus (Shahdara-Gajjumata) and the Speedo buses plying on feeder routes in Lahore. Similarly, around 20,000 passengers have also switched to the Metrobus system in Rawalpindi.”
He added that about 7,000 people in Multan have also shifted to the metro bus service. The report further emphasizes that long route buses have increased their fares by up to 35 percent, which has caused commuters to downgrade from airconditioned buses to non-airconditioned ones due to lower fares.
Govt is Planning to Subsidize Intracity Transport to Minimize Fares
PMTA’s official claimed that the government is planning to subsidize the intracity transport services further to minimize fares. He explained, “We have sent a summary to the Punjab Cabinet and sought its approval for introducing a distance-based fare instead of the flat Rs. 40 per passenger. The minimum fare suggested is Rs. 20 for traveling on the Orange Line Metro Train. But the fares (Rs. 30 and Rs. 15) being charged in metro or Speedo buses would remain the same till further orders.”
Presently, there is no such plan in place for long-route bus services. Transporters have requested the government to increase subsidies so as to keep their services afloat and help the public.