Sorry state of public buses

Much of poverty, misery and apathy is transparent in Pakistan as they are elsewhere. Even blind men can see the misery and governmental and social apathy around them. Precious lives are lost as public buses frequently catch fire in the country. The reasons behind road accidents are well known so there is no point in dilating upon them neither is there much sense wasting time on trying to draw the attention of the authorities to such tragedies. Recently, a van caught fire in Karachi that killed nine and injured several other passengers. The dead included six members of one family. The family had hired the van and they were on the way to attend a wedding when the tragedy occurred. The fire is said to have been caused by a short circuit and due to the presence of a petrol-filled bottle near the engine the fire immediately engulfed the van.

Public transport in the cities and towns of the country is in a very bad shape and the relevant authorities appear to be helpless in making transporters mend their ways and reining in rude drivers and conductors. Most vans and buses plying the roads are unfit for carrying passengers. Vans and buses are mostly overloaded, seats meant for ladies are occupied by male passengers; and passengers, drivers and conductors pinch ladies and ogle at them. Drivers are unruly; vehicles either run at supersonic speed or they crawl at a snail’s pace depending on the whims of drivers and conductors; fares too vary sometimes on the pretext of gas shortage and sometimes on other flimsy grounds. Substandard LPG gas cylinders and bottle of petrol are installed in vehicles putting passengers’ lives at risk.

The level of official apathy is astounding. For the past several years we have a style of governance that is characterised by posters and banners carrying pictures of politicians and their hollow promises. The whole thing is appalling.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2020.

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