ISLAMABAD - The transport fares were reduced only by Rs 1 and Rs 2 despite the fact that the prices of petrol and diesel have been brought down by about Rs 30 and Rs 10 respectively after the massive fall in PoL rates in the world market in recent weeks. Does not it show the pro-transporters Rawalpindi Transport Authority (RTA)'s helplessness or an obvious tilt towards them? Previously, it took the RTA almost ten days to give this nominal relief to the hapless commuters. Hapless because, the government has left them at the disposal of stubborn transporters, courtesy, the closure of government bus service a decade ago. By all calculations, equations and statistics, the parity between the cut in fares and PoL prices is nowhere traceable in the RTA fare list, issued about a week back, which continues to trigger hot arguments and occasional commuter transporter scuffles. The third reduction came nearly week ago, but there is no indication, when and how much would be the cut in fares. And, if one keeps in mind the previous exceedingly disappointing revision, the new fare list would not make any difference. It goes without saying that it would be to the undue advantage of transporters. This amply demonstrates how effectively, public transporters have formed a cartel, which has the audacity to flout the pressures coming from all directions to accept a rationality-based fare list. According to an RTA official, parleys are under way with transporters, who are hell-bent on acceptance of fares of their choice: something that has so far been resisted by the authority. Neither the provincial government nor RTA seems in any urgency to ensure provision of a significant relief to commuters, who can only raise hue and cry on this persistent discrimination and in justice to them. Frankly speaking, in a civilised society, when the government withdraws a public service, a better one replaces it. But surprisingly, in this particular case, no government has bothered to introduce even a private bus service, barring Varan. According to rough estimates, over one lakh people travel by public transport, which largely consists of mainly Hiace vans. Suppose, RTA gives an undue advantage of Rs 2 to transporters on each slab. Imagine how much it would ultimately benefit them. Rs 2 lakh extra would go into their pockets and hence collectively the commuters would be robbed of the same amount daily. This shows how sensitive is the issue, but it is not being handled accordingly, this was the consensus opinion of several commuters interviewed by this correspondent. They vehemently advocated at least Rs 3 reduction in fares on all slabs. They contended that anything less than that would be eyewash. They pointed out that public transporters would have to accept the proposed new fare list, as mostly they get their vehicles off the road after 9:00pm at night the obvious reason is huge profits they pocket owing to undue fare advantage to them.