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Friday, 25 December 2015

Discounted bus fares introduced for students

To cut the students’ travel expenses and ease their travel by bus to schools, colleges and universities, the traffic police have approached the transport department to amend the rules regulating discounted fares. The obsolete part of the Motor Vehicles Rule (MVR) 1969 needs amendment in order to make it more realistic and implementable.

A letter has been sent by traffic police DIG Amir Sheikh to the transport secretary for the amendment in the rule, which also includes special persons in the list. The letter, written by Sheikh, read that in order to facilitate the physically challenged persons and to revise the obsolete rate of fare for students travelling in state carriages, there is a need to make amendment in the existing rule 79 of the MVR1969.
According to the old rule, 25 paisas were supposed to be charged from the students. The amendments include the charges for a distance less than 20 miles fixed at Rs5 for students irrespective of any university, college or school and special persons with any kind of disability. The amendment also says that if the distance travelled is more than 20 miles, the fare from the students will be charged half of the normal fare the buses charge from other passengers.
The concession for the students is for anytime of the day irrespective of the schools, college or university timings and days. The letter also reads that students should also not be asked to leave the seat because they are paying less than the others.
The rule is applicable on all buses and mini-buses but not on coaches, confirmed transport secretary Taha Farooqui. He said that the need for amending the fares for students was felt as the previous rates were very low. He added that for special persons, the amendment was proposed in view of some applications received.
“How can they force us to give these concessions without taking us in confidence,” complained Karachi Transport Ittehad general secretary Mehmood Afridi. He was also of the view that Sheikh is not the authority to give such orders while it is Farooqui’s department. “We have written a letter to the traffic DIG and have told him that nothing can be done without discussing with us first,” he said, citing examples of the traffic police’s previous failed campaigns.
A student only has to show her/his institute’s identity card to avail the discounted rates in the buses. A majority of the university students are unaware of the discount. “I did not know that we can show our card and be charged less in the bus,” said a student, demanding that they should paste these rules on the gates of the buses so that all the students can avail this discount.
“Since I know that I have a facility to avail when travelling in public buses, I try to avail it as much as I can,” said a student of a government college. She also told The Express Tribune that it costs her around Rs100 daily as she has to change two buses to make it to her home in Manzoor Colony.
“I never show my identity card to avail the discount but many girls do,” said Karachi University second-year student Sumaiya Talib, who also takes two buses to reach home. She shared that sometimes bus conductors get irritated when a lot of girls show cards and ask them to charge half of the rate they normally charge.
Another student from KU’s applied chemistry department, Bilal Khan, said that this change in fare will help those students who only travel in the university’s buses because they charge less. Meanwhile, the traffic DIG said he was unable to comment as he was in Islamabad.

Source : The Express Tribune , 22nd Dec 2015 

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