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Oil prices and transport fares

Increase has brought a wave of price hike

Jan 15 - 21, 2001

The transporters in Karachi have threatened to observe a wheel-jam strike on January 17, 2001 to lodge their protest against what they called exorbitant hike in oil prices despite worldwide decline in POL prices.

About 7 major transport owners unions including National Labour Federation of Pakistan (NLFP), Karachi Transport Federation (KTF), Karachi Transport Owners Federation (KTOF), Mini Bus Owners Association, Karachi Suzuki Drivers Union (KSDU), All Sindh Reti-Bajri Truck Owners (ARBTO) and Karachi Transport Workers Ittehad (KTWI) have unanimously called a total strike on January 17.

The transporters have demanded of the government to withdraw increase in oil prices not later than January 16 otherwise all the transport including public transport and carriages will remain off the roads. If the January 17 wheel-jam strike fails to draw government's attention towards resolution of transport problems, the strike may be stretched to indefinite period, they warned. In other words they are looking for yet another increase in transport fares without asking.

It may be recalled that the government had already allowed exorbitant increases in transport fares only two months back on Nov 14, 2000. Following is the detail of the increase in fares:


Upto 10km Rs5.00
Upto 15km Rs5.50
Upto 20km Rs6.00
Upto 25 kmRs6.00
(For students 5 per cent of normal fare)

Mini Buses

Upto 5km Rs4.50
Upto 10kmRs5.50
Upto 15kmRs6.50
Upto 20kmRs6.50
Upto 25kmRs6.50


Upto 10km Rs8.00
Above 10km Rs9.00
Black Yellow Rs7.00 km
Yellow Cabs 800cc Rs8.00 km
Above 800cc Rs9.00 km
Auto Rickshaw Rs6.00 km

POL prices

The government had announced an increase in the prices of petroleum product ranges between 6.82 per cent and 22.48 per cent on December 30, 2000. That was the fifth increase made over the past one-year. The latest increase was in addition to the 40 per cent increase that has already been effected over the past 12 months. The government would receive Rs7 billion through new oil prices to offset the impact of the increase in international prices. It would be worth mentioning that the import bill during the first half of the current financial year i.e. July-December 2000 on account of POL products was estimated at $1.8 billion which means that the total outflow on this account is likely to be over $3 billion at the end of the current fiscal.

Following is the detail of increase in POL prices


old price


new price
































Though the government has assured to review prices downward in the coming March if the current spell of price decline continues, yet the bitter experience the people have to go through it is hard to make them believe in the government's offer.

People say that it has been the tradition that once the price of any thing goes upward it never comes down in Pakistan. As a result of frequent increases in POL prices people are helplessly facing the virus of price hike of almost everything. WAPDA and KESC are out to increase their tariff almost every now and then. Transportation charges have already gone beyond their earning capacity. The transport fares have been increased manifold during last 12 months and in some cases they have gone almost double. The coachwala is charging Rs9, which was Rs5 a year back, buses are charging a minimum fare of Rs3.50, which was Rs2, a year back, mini bus is charging Rs4.50, which was Rs3, a year back. These are the facts which have made the life miserable of the people especially the salaried class because their fixed earnings have been declined during the said period due to inflation and depreciation of the local currency.

Analyzing the situation, commuters feel that against an increase of Rs2-3 per liter on diesel the transporters were allowed blindly to have an increase of Rs.1 per passenger. It seems that the increase in POL prices is being charged from every single passenger instead of distributing it proportionately on the income and expenditure of the transporters. The easiest way for the transporters to get an increase in transport fares is to please the transport officials. This formula is visibly in vogue in the case of auto rickshaws and taxis, which are plying on the roads with 100 per cent tempered meters. Almost all the taxis and rickshaws have got their tempered meters passed by paying an amount of Rs500 against the fee of Rs35 to the concerned officials hence they have got the license to fleece the passengers at their free will.

Although the government had claimed at the time of enhancing the POL prices that transporters have given their consent not to demand for an increase in transportation charges, contrary to that there is a wave of increase in prices of all sort of transportation in the country. The Pakistan International Airline has announced an increase of 15 per cent in their fare, similarly Railways has already announced for an increase and now the road transporters both city and inter-city operators have tightened their belt to get the booty by raising the fares on all routes.