For common people stung by the astronomical increase in petrol prices – up by Rs84 in less than a month – the mass transit systems in Punjab’s three major cities have turned out to be a blessing.
In Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan, around 100,000 commuters have turned off their vehicles’ ignition and moved to metro buses and Orange Line train. Some travel on their vehicle to the nearest stations and take the bus or train to reach their destination.
According to the Punjab Mass Transit Authority numbers, 75,000 people have moved to metro bus, Orange Line train and speedo bus in the past few weeks. The footfall of Rawalpindi metro bus service has increased by Rs20,000 while the Multan metro bus, on average, has witnessed an increase of aroud 5,000 passengers per day.
The travelers said that switching to metro bus and Orange Line train has resulted in some respite in their monthly budget that had spiralled out of control amid double digit inflations.
From students, to daily wage workers to families, the importance of a cheap and convinient mode of transpost couldn’t be stressed more. They want the services to have greater coverage so that they can get rid of “fleecing” auto rickshaws and taxi services.