LAHORE - Although the federal government has announced around Rs9 per litre slash in fuel prices, transporters are still charging old fares from commuters travelling in and out of city.

However, the availability of fuel became normal on Sunday at filling stations and reportedly in other parts of the country. The government was looking vigilant to ensure normal supply of fuel at new rates. But on the other side, the powerful transporters did not pay any attention to government’s call for reduction in transport fare.

Main public transport companies at inter-city routes have not made any change in its fares and commuters travelled to other cities from Lahore at old rates. Similarly, the situation remained unchanged on intra-city routes as well. The mini-van owners on Multan Road, Wahdat Road and other routes; Mazda owners at Ferozpur Road; buses at Canal Road, Jail Road, Mall Road; and other parts of the city charged the old fare from passengers. The stop-to-stop fare of vans and other vehicles is the same, Rs15, and Rs18 for buses. No reduction in fare was announced by owners of auto rickshaws, qingqi rickshaws and private taxis.

The fare table issued by the Lahore Transport Company (LTC) after the fuel price cut is looking a joke for commuters and it indicates almost no change in old fare on intra-city routes. The company, however, claimed that it had reduced the fares around eight per cent for the ‘public benefit’. Pakistan Railways management is expected to meet on the issue after Ashura, but the decrease in fare is not expected at all. “The Railways increased its revenue generation targets after cut in fuel prices instead of passing relief to passengers. The department is already passing through a financial crunch and there is no expectation regarding any cut in existing fares at express and passenger trains,” said official sources in Pak-Railways. Meanwhile, the fuel supply has almost become normal at filling stations in Lahore.

“There are more than 350 petrol pumps in Lahore and almost 99 per cent of them supplied fuel to consumers at normal rates,” said Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association spokesperson Engineer Khawaja Atif Ahmed. Petrol supply of 2.5 million litre and diesel supply of around 1 million litre per day by the petroleum companies for provincial metropolitan was also normal on Sunday, he added.

Atif held that the government was repeatedly requested by the association to own both loss and gain in case of change in fuel price but no attention was paid to our call. “It is a conventional way adopted all over the world and can help to avoid panic among public in case of any reduction or increase in fuel prices but the government is not willing to adopt this method,” he argued. He was of the view that the impression regarding fuel hoarding by the dealers was no true, saying that those who committed such crime should be dealt as per law.