LAHORE  - Steep increase in fuel prices jacked up transport fares across the country at inter and intra-city routes by 10 to 15 per cent adding to that a further increase in fare is expected within a week ahead of Eidul Azha.

However, Pakistan Railways has decided not to increase the fare and maintain losses through ‘internal sources’.

“We, so far, decided not to increase train fares instead, we will try to attract passengers and maintain the losses at existing place,” an official of the department said. He further added that the decision helped Railways to attract further passengers and generate more revenue despite increase in petroleum prices earlier as well. 

The Railways bears the loss of Rs80 million per day due to less numbers of locomotives in different sectors. Another official estimated that the recent wave of hike in diesel prices would impact negatively on the Railways and failing in attracting passengers would result in an additional loss of Rs10 million and Rs20million per day.

The transporters, however, said they were unable to ply buses in existing fare and have had no option but to go for increase. “If a passenger pays Rs700 from Lahore to Multan, he/she will pay Rs750 now and during Eid days the fare will touch between Rs800 to Rs1000 for the same destination” said a transporter, reasoning that they had to return without passengers empty.

The All Pakistan Goods Transport owners association on the other hand, condemned the steep hike in prices and called a nationwide strike in protest. They said that they had been pushed to the wall and had no choice but to shut down their businesses. Trhey called for strike till this decision would be reversed. Moreover, All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association and All Pakistan Truck and Trailer Association rejected hike in petroleum prices and also called a wheel-jam strike across the country if the government did not take back decision.   “If the government will not accept their demands, we will take the strike to a higher level and block all intercity intersections,” they warned through a statement.  The fares of the intra-city public transport also increased by 10 per cent at some routes, however, the buses operate under Lahore Transport Company have not increased the fare as all their transport run on gas.