ISLAMABAD - The commuters in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have called for adjusting local transport fares according to gas prices. “Transporters charge fares according to the petrol prices but on pretext of CNG closer days, most of the public transporters avoid plying their vehicles and those who operate, never complete their routes” complaint commuters waiting at Zero Point bus stop.

The route violation has become a routine practice and even some transporters remained off the road during CNG closer days. All the transporters operate on gas but they got adjustment of fares from the authorities according to petrol prices. Due to shortage of transport on the roads, a large number of commuters were witnessed waiting on the stops.

The transporters have also started over-charging without any official increase in the fares following surge in fuel prices. Commuters said that the transporters are bound to follow the current rate list until it is revised. The commuters appeal Islamabad Traffic Police to take stern action against the local transporters for over-charging, over-loading and route violation.

When contacted transporters association, they said that some transporters violate routes and association condemn this practice. They said that due to closer of CNG stations, some of the transporters have reservation so the association would take up the issue with the authority for revising fares.   The taxi cab drivers also keep their vehicles off the road and those who operate overcharge the passengers under the pretext of gas loadshedding. Mustafa Mughal, a taxi driver said they charge fares according to the petrol prices during CNG closer days.  When traffic police officials were contacted, they said that the citizens can formally register complaint with ITP and on the basis of complaint strict action would be taken against the violators.

Meanwhile, as the flow of traffic has improved with the construction of new roads, underpasses and flyovers, and widening of roads in the Federal Capital, redundant U-turn signboards have not yet been removed causing inconvenience and confusion to the motorists.

A senior official of the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) admitted the lapse but said the problem would be resolved shortly. He said the ITP had put up new U-turn signs, but due to the oversight such signs were not removed at some places where turning points had been blocked.

”We are taking care of the problem,” he added.

The presence of old U-turn signs confuse the motorists. When they approach a U-turn they find it blocked with cement blocks while the singboard indicates presence of the same. They have to drive for some distance to approach the new U-turn. Such lapses of the traffic police can be seen on roads in Blue Area, F-6 and F-8 sectors, Kashmir Highway (Sports Complex road) and other sectors of the city.

The residents of the Capital criticised the traffic police for such lapses, saying the focus of its personnel was more on issuing fine tickets to get their ‘defined share’ rather than on resolving motorists’ problems. Another problem for motorists is the absence of ‘fish belly’ sections for turning right on the Islamabad Highway from Faizabad to Koral Chowk along the route to the airport.

Such facility exists in Rawalpindi on main road near Hamza Camp and also on Peshawar Road, which has proved very beneficial for the motorists. Civil society groups have urged the ITP to provide similar facility on Islamabad Expressway.