Islamabad-Lack of public transport system in the capital city has been leading to the miseries of low-income residents of the city by leaving them with no choice but to opt for private vans to reach their destination.

Hundreds of people from the adjacent cities of the federal capital commute on public transport everyday to reach the city for multiple purposes. However, the poor public transport system on the route of Kashmir Highway has increased their travelling difficulties.

On the approximately 15 kilometres route from G.T road to sector G-8, only a few vans of public transport are commuting to meet the capacity of people entering and exiting the city.

Meanwhile, the set route of the public transport vans which commutes inside different sectors is also not considered suitable for passengers who want to reach their destinations early in the capital.

To compensate for the lack of public transport facility, private vans have been given the route permit by city administration to pick and drop the people from one point to another.

However, the private van owners have started exploiting the situation by overloading them with passengers and modifying the vehicles from inside. Meanwhile, the overcharging by the private van owners is also going unchecked by the administration.

To make extra profit, the private van owners have replaced the company fitted seats that accommodate only five people with benches that can adjust nine persons.

There are above two dozen such private vans travelling on the route and charging Rs.30 from each person from stop to stop. The fare is increased by the association with the increase of fuel price.

Ahsan Khawar from Wah Cantt is a university student who travels everyday to the federal city on public transport as his university transport has no route toward his city.

“It is the most difficult to travel from G-15, G.T road to G-8 metro stop,” he said.

Khawar said that the persons travelling on this route have to adjust in congested vans which have the capacity of five to six passengers.

Moreover, the modified seats are for school going children are also not suitable for grownups.

“The van drivers also argue with commuters when anyone objects to adjusting the extra persons in the crowded vehicle,” he added.

Another commuter, Mohammad Azam said that the mechanical condition of these vehicles is unsatisfactory and passengers feel unsafe travelling in them.

He added that the administration merely checks the condition of these vans. Meanwhile, the van drivers defend their decision of adjusting more persons in the modified vehicles saying that it is otherwise difficult to earn livelihood for the day.

“We cannot earn any profit with five people in the van,” said Noor Alam, a driver.

These vans are also used for pick and drop service of school children which is why the original seats are replaced with benches.

An official of Islamabad Capital Territory talking to The Nation said that there are fewer vans on the route of Kashmir Highway and private vans are given permit for the facility of people.

He said that the under-construction metro bus on this route will soon resolve the problems of the commuters travelling from other cities.