Srinagar, Feb 22: Passengers from different areas of summer capital Srinagar here complained of overcharging, accusing the authorities of failing to ensure strict adherence to the rate list.
Sources said that public transporters plying on the interior routes to different areas of Srinagar city are overcharging fares and violating the revised fare rates fixed by the government.
The arbitrary overcharging by the public transporters continues since many months.
“Under the radius of 5 Kilometers drivers charge 12 rupees fare per person. I regularly travel from Bemina to Lal Chowk but I am often overcharged and the situation frequently ends up in an argument. The drivers don’t abide by the rate list,” said Mohammad Shoaib, a passenger from Bemina.
Drivers he said don’t follow the government revised rates and overcharge the passengers.
People talking to Kashmir News Trust said that they have raised the issue with authorities, who took action, but the drivers ignored and continue to overcharge passengers.
Residents from Bemina, Batmaloo, Hyderpora, Baghat, HMT, Qamarwari, Shalteng and Rawalpora said that drivers do not follow the fare rates.
The resident complained that the common man is forced to pay extra as per the will of the drivers.
Sameer Ahmad a resident of Parraypora said due to lack of check by the concerned department, transporters are taking undue advantage of this. “We are left with no option, but to pay according to the will of drivers,” he said.
Commuters resent the hike because they said fares are unjustified, transporters rarely stick to government rates and arbitrarily charge more and, most importantly, the quality of services do not warrant a hike.
“Overloading is so rampant that we rarely get to sit on a seat. Conductors are ready with excuses to keep the change. They are ‘always short of change’. On certain routes, Sumo drivers overcharge,” said Rehana Bhat, a private employee from Baghat.
Commuters also complain of shortage of buses, Sumos or mini-buses in the evenings, especially at Jehangir Chowk, Bemina, Sanat Nagar, Rambagh, Jawahar Nagar, Abdullah Bridge, Sonwar, Batwara, Dalgate, Gogjibagh and Bemina.
“I have been waiting for a bus here for the past 50 minutes,” said Irfan Ahmad at Jehangir Chowk.
And nearly all commuters who spoke to this reporter talked about the perennial issue of drivers prolonging the journey in search for passengers.
“They drag on needlessly for 30 to 40 minutes till the bus is overcrowded. The vehicles are also not comfortable. If one pays Rs 10 for a similar ride outside J&K you get the value for your money,” said Kaisar Ahmad, a commuter from Qamarwari.
He also hit at the MVD and Regional Transport Office for failing in their commitment to make transport in the Valley women friendly.
Residents of Rangreth, Wanabal and adjoining areas also accused the transport department of failing to enforce Government prescribed passenger fare charges. The resident complained that the common man is forced to pay extra as per the will of drivers.
The commuters urged authorities to implement the proper transport rates in Srinagar particularly.