Rawalpindi-The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has warned the transporters against overcharging public transport fares from people going to hometowns to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their families.

According to Secretary RTA, it is a common feature ahead of Eid people go to their hometowns to celebrate the festival with their loved ones. People from abroad as well as major cities make it a point to be home with their kith and kin for the festivities. However, the transporters have a habit of fleecing the homebound citizens by charging exorbitant rates.

He said that stern action would be taken against transporters found overcharging and overloading the passengers. The staff concerned has been directed to check overcharging and overloading of passengers in buses and vans especially before Eid-ul-Fitr, he said. The checking was being carried out randomly at different places, he said adding, strict action will be taken on the spot and excess fares would be returned to the passengers.

Commissioner Rawalpindi Division, Noor ul Amin Mengal had directed the RTA Rawalpindi to control fares of public service vehicles and take strict action against the violators without any discrimination.

According to a spokesman, the RTA on the directives of the Commissioner had finalized arrangements to conduct raids for checking fares of the public transport.

The RTA under the supervision of Secretary RTA was taking strict action following the law against overcharging.

The Secretary RTA had instructed the officials concerned to make arrangements to control fares of public transport as people started going to their hometowns to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, he added.

Special squads have also been formed and deployed at bus and wagon stands to control overcharging and overloading, he said adding, a special control room has also been set up at the RTA office to monitor teams checking fares of buses and wagons in the bus stands. The transporters and the management of the bus terminals had also been instructed to ensure implementation of the orders in letter and spirit, else strict action would be taken against the violators without any discrimination, he added. Transporters had also been asked not to create an artificial shortage of buses and bring all their vehicles on roads otherwise their licenses would be cancelled.

According to the Secretary RTA, they had cancelled the Eid holidays of their checking staff. “We are trying to control the phenomenon of overcharging ahead of Eid.”

He advised the passengers to note the number of buses and wagons which are overcharging. “Passengers should inform us and we will take strict action against transporters,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, all bus and wagon terminals including the railway station on Saturday remained jam-packed with passengers who were leaving for their native towns to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their families. The passengers were seen running from one bus stand to the other in search of tickets, while the transporters taking full advantage of the situation were demanding enhanced fares from them. A huge rush of passengers could be witnessed at all bus terminals and also at Rawalpindi Railway Station here on Saturday. On the other hand, as per ugly practices, long route transporters were openly looting helpless passengers by charging enhanced fares apart from charges for luggage.

The transporters at Pirwadhai, Faizabad, Rawat, Humrahi and Soan Bus Terminals were demanding enhanced fares from the poor passengers. The official Eid holidays will begin on Monday (May 2) but most of the non-locals have already left for their hometowns on Saturday as there is an off day on Sunday in the federal capital, while the remaining would likely go till ‘Chand Raat.’

Similarly, a large number of passengers could be witnessed at Rawalpindi Railway Station waiting for trains. The majority of the passengers have already booked their seats but others are facing difficulties in the hunt for seats.