BOTH transporters and students, normally opposed to one another, found a common enemy, the police, and some common causes, like the recent hike in transport fares and the ban on wagons on the Ferozepur Road. The transporters went on strike, and were backed by some students on Monday, blocking the Ferozepur Road at the Lahore General Hospital and brutalising the first police party on the spot. The police reached in greater numbers, brutalised the students and ended the strike, but not before preventing tire-burning or by solving the problems that were exposed. That policemen were brutalised will not reopen the Ferozepur Road, but the affected transporters, as well as students belonging to the various colleges along the main City artery, let off steam against the police, which they feel harass them needlessly. Transporters, in particular, resent the payments they have to make to the police to keep themselves on the roads. Students resent any authority figure, a position for which the police are naturally qualified. However, transporters cannot escape much of the blame for the ban, which is aimed at reducing the pollution in the City, which has reached smog-producing proportions, by reducing the use of diesel-burning vehicles. However, that strategy must be re-thought, now that natural gas, the nearest alternative fuel, is being rationed. Also, the number of gas-powered buses on the roads must be made to meet increased passenger loads caused by the ban on wagons. Another problem has been the increase in fares. For that, the federal government must evolve a mechanism that prevents the fuel price hikes from having such an impact on the ordinary commuter. However, the federal government has left transport to the provincial governments, while raising its most important input in a time of falling world prices. The provincial government may well have its work cut out, but it cannot afford such protests to become a regular feature. It must take up the matter with the federal government if need be.