Metro fare increase backfires


PUNJAB Metro Bus Authority had increased the fare of Lahore and Islamabad/Rawalpindi metro bus service from Rs 20 to Rs 30 in order to enhance its revenue. However this fare policy has backfired as the increase in fare has resulted in reduction of commuters on both the metros. According to the Punjab Metro Bus Authority, the number of commuters on Lahore Metro Bus has decreased up to 20,000 per day whilst 10,000 to 20,000 passengers have stopped commuting on Rawalpindi/Islamabad metro bus.
This sensitivity of the commuters to fare increase clearly indicates that the Punjab Metro Bus Authority will fail to generate the revenue it had targeted and that it had to rely on the subsidy from the Punjab government. The fact of the matter is that last government of PML-N had established the metro bus projects to provide easy, fast and inexpensive mode of transportation to the people and throughout their tenure, it goes to their credit that they did not raise its fare which indeed helped different segments of the society especially the youth and college and university students to avail this facility. Now with increase in metro bus fare, they are forced to use other means of transportation. In this scenario, we will rather urge the Punjab Metro Bus Authority to prepare such a policy that gives concession in fare to the students and other deprived segments of society. Then the Authority also needs to prepare a business plan as some sort of commercial activity can be started at the metro stops given the sufficient space that is available there. This may help the Authority generate sufficient revenue to end reliance on the government’s subsidy. Then it is also important that upkeep and maintenance of the metro bus service both in Lahore and Islamabad/Rawalpindi is ensured in a timely manner so that the people continue to avail this modern facility without any interruption or difficulty. New Islamabad Airport Metro Bus project must be completed at the earliest and for the convenience of the commuters, more such projects should be envisaged in such a manner that covers all the routes in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. This will also help further improve the landscape of both the cities.