BY MUSKAAN BEIGH
Srinagar: Lack of public transport in uptown areas in the summer capital is taking a toll on commuters.
The local transport disappears from the majority of the vital routes of Srinagar during evening hours, causing immense hardships to the commuters, mostly office-goers, shopkeepers, and students.
The non-availability of public transport during evenings is not any new experience for the Srinagarties as the grievance has been persistent for a long time
Commuters said that the problem is prevalent on the majority of routes including city’s uptown areas including Humhama, Pantha Chowk, Nowgam, Chanapora, Rangreth and Rawalpora.
“After sunset public transport, including Mini-buses, Sumos start disappearing from most of the roads in Srinagar. This gives a free ride to auto-rickshaw owners to over-charge commuters. Under these circumstances, the commuters are at the receiving end of exploitation,” a commuter Mehrukh Feroz of Chanapora told Greater Kashmir.
To mention, the majority of people travel in public transport, particularly women, who are annoyed with the non-availability of public transportation during the evening hours. This forces them to leave their work mid-way and proceed towards their respective destinations early.
“The problem is worsening with each passing day as most drivers opt to depart early owing to decrease in temperature and visibility. Authorities are least bothered about the issue,” Mehrukh adds.
“Finding a Sumo or a bus after 5 pm has become quite a difficult task, and barely 5-10% of vehicles ply city roads in the evening,” says Nadeem Hussain of the Rangreth area.
“Traffic department is only interested in penalising drivers and raising revenue for the department and themselves. At the same time, the general public continues to suffer. We have had this problem before, but it has worsened for the last two months. As people scramble to catch a bus, women and elderly are usually left behind, and they have to wait for hours or board auto rickshaws,” said Sadia, another commuter.
Commuters have appealed to Transport Authorities in general and RTO Kashmir, in particular, to look into the problem and take steps for its early redressal Despite attempts, RTO Kashmir did not answer multiple calls of this reporter.