By Musawir Ahmed & Fawad Shahwani
Farman is a student of BS at Poly Technique College Quetta. He daily travels some 10 kilometers to attend his college and get back home on his bike. Bolan Tribune talked to him to ascertain the cost of his traveling monthly. He said that it is almost Rs. 200 per day and apart from this, he also spends extra amount on maintenance of his bike to keep it ready. Only travelling to his college costs him around Rs. 7000 per month.
To the question that why he doesn’t opt for public transport, he said that the buses used for public transport are so untidy, stinking and noisy that he cannot opt for them. “The passengers are stuffed in them like animals and there are no enough buses to cater for the need of entire city,” he further added.
Number of Buses
Buland Khan, the president of Local Bus Union (LBU) Balochistan while talking to Bolan Tribune during a telephonic conversation said that there are six hundred fifty (650) buses plying on various routs in Quetta for public transport.
He said that currently they are able to run buses on the following routes.
(1) Brewery Road
(2) Sariyab Road
(3) Sabzal Road
(4) Kirani Road
(9) Sirki Road
(10) Pashton-abad and others.
The Number of Auto Rickshaws in Quetta
During an hearing of the Balochistan High Court regarding the issues of Local Bus Union, it came to fore that apart from 650 buses, there are sixty thousand (60,000) rickshaws, clotting the roads and thoroughfares in Quetta.
The Model of Buses
The Chairman Local Bus Union Lala Hanif while talking to Bolan Tribune said that the models used for public transport in Quetta range between 1975 to 1996, at best. However, he avoided answering the question as to which modes are legally allowed to be used for public transport.
The City and Its Population
It may be mentioned here that Quetta is the 10th most populated city of Pakistan according to the 2017 with 2.2 million people inhabiting the funnel shaped valley. It is the only city that offers some civic facilities to the masses but the chronic neglect of the authorities concerned have increased its issues manifold.
The Green Bus Service
The provincial government intends to introduce a ‘bus service’ for the commuters in Quetta but when the project would see the light of the day is yet to be known. How these buses would facilitate the masses and save their time with constellation of rickshaws, motorbikes, personal vehicles and narrow passageways is yet another questions that merits some serious reckoning.
The LBS members had no knowledge about the proposed green bus service in Quetta. All they worried about was a permanent bus stop and their other trivial issues.
The Behavioural Issues
Talking to Bolan Tribune Riaz Ahmed, a daily commuter in local buses, said that they often have to face unpleasant behaviour of the bus staff who often manhandle them. He further complained when seats are fully occupied, they stuff passengers in the corridors which suffocates.
Bolan Tribune also noted that there was no restriction over smoking, spitting and eating in the local buses.
Public Transport as an Option for Women
During the course of investigation, Bolan Tribune discovered that there is a separation in each bus for women and the seats spared for them are no more than ten. However, these seats are close to driving seat and what are their issues some female students talked to us on condition of anonymity.
One of the students who travels daily in the buses to her college said that she has no other option as she cannot afford to travel in rickshaws. She said she finds it so embarrassing to travel in local buses owing to smoking habit of the bus staff, loud music and their carelessness. However, government never bothers to heed to these issues and we continue to suffer. Another student also complained about similar issues and said that they often have to face harassment while waiting on bus stop and sometimes even while traveling in the buses.
About the Authors: Musawir Ahmed and Fawad Shahwani are students of BS at Degree College Quetta. They are also availing internship with Bolan Tribune as reporters