The recent ban on the Qingqi rickshaws in Karachi has been met with fierce opposition from people who won the vehicles. The Qingqi has been a popular mode of travel for the average citizen who has no hope from the dismal state of public transport in the city. The rundown, overcrowded buses and wagons run by illiterate and brash conductors are the least preferred mode of travel for thousands who find rickshaws more secure and accessible. They do not ask for state of the art metros, just a decent seat to sit in comfortably and get to their destination without being harassed; and that it exactly what the Qingqis have provided.

The Sindh High Court’s decision to enforce a complete ban on the Qingqi comes after much deliberation. There were many petition filed against and for the Qingqi. Those who want them off the roads have a fair argument; these rickshaws have overcrowded the roads ignoring all concerns of environmental noise and pollution and more importantly there is a complete disregard for passenger safety. They have no side view mirrors and are completely open from all sides causing one too many accidents and deaths. Drivers often do not have proper licenses and are under age.

Admittedly the Qingqis provide an earnest livelihood to thousands across the city, many of whom have no other means of income and are supporting large families. This ban will also inconvenience thousands of commuters who have now to turn to dismal mass transit systems. It is the government’s duty to ease the ban onto the people instead of forcefully ceasing the rickshaws all at once. It has been an unnecessary shock to the transport system. Additionally, once there is a viable transport system – made possible by upgrading existing buses, improving bus routes, adding new vehicles where demand of travel is more- the ban will be easier to enforce and less painful to endure.