LAHORE - Transporters and drivers of public transport in the city have shown a mixed reaction over the Punjab government’s initiative of introducing modern vehicle inspection system for issuing fitness certificates to vehicles.

Majority of the owners of buses, vans, rickshaws plying at different routes expressed total ignorance when they were asked about the VICS. However, they said they have to accept the system if initiated by the government.

The Punjab government, abandoning the decades old transport inspection system, has made mandatory for 750,000 commercial vehicles in passenger and freight sector to pass fitness test of a Swedish firm to come on roads.

Opus Inspection, the Swedish firm, is establishing 39 Vehicle Inspection and Certification Stations (VICS) in all 36 districts of Punjab before the end 2016 with around Rs1.5 billion investment. Two stations have already been made operational in Green Town, Lahore, and Kala Shah Kaku, Sheikhupura.

The transport department has set Rs1,080 inspection fee for transport vehicle, Rs720 for each delivery van and motor cab, rickshaw and motorcycle rickshaw; whereas, the renewal fee after six months will be charged Rs540 for HTV and LTV, and Rs450 for delivery van, motor cabs and auto rickshaws.

“I don’t know about VICS. We make inspection twice of our vans from vehicles examiners of Transport Department on a nominal fee,” said Muhammad Arif, who owns three vans on Thoker Niaz Beg to Badami Bagh Bus Station route.

Safdar Ali, a rickshaw driver was also unaware about the modern system of inspection. He, however, criticised it when got informed about the new fee for inspection.

“We are unable to pay such high fee. It look the new system is only a tactics to accumulate funds,” he told The Nation.

According to the new system, buses, vans, cabs, trolleys and trucks will be issued VICS certificate after alignment inspection, brake inspection, visual inspection, vehicle suspension verification, headlight inspection, emission inspection and vehicle noise inspection.

Private transport companies are also criticising the fee structure for vehicle inspection. Their owners have termed the project as ‘a money minting effort’ of the government. They say the transporters already pay heavy taxes to government in different heads and will not accept such heavy fees.