Reliable public transport elusive for Srinagar commuters

,Reliable public transport is still not available for many areas of the capital city, where 90 percent commuters depend on the frustrating and uncertain service.

Commuters in the city regularly complain that public transport like mini buses and Sumo shared cabs go off the roads in the evening, while a large number of mini-buses engaged to ferry schoolchildren from in the afternoon result in overloading in the limited buses available afterwards.

A large number of commuters can be seen daily waiting for buses near Kashmir Hatt, Lal Chowk, Jehangir Chowk, Sanat Nagar, Rambagh, Jawahar Nagar, Abdullah Bridge, Sonwar, Batwara and Dalgate, Gogjibagh, Bemina and its adjacent areas.

Most of them, including elderly persons, can be seen asking for a lift from private cars.

“Sometimes, we are helpless in absence of public transport in the evening and move on foot,” said a Kralpora-bound passenger at Jahangir Chowk.

Commuters from Darbagh, Harvan, Danihama, Mufti Bagh, Barji, Bat Mohalla and other adjacent areas have similar complaints.

Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident of Harvan said Sumos ferrying passengers on these routes change or shorten their routes after 3pm.

“Suppose a sumo ferries passengers from Lal Chowk to Harvan. But after 3pm, the same sumo refuses to cover this destination and will ferry passengers from Lal Chowk to Nishat only. It leaves passengers of other areas fuming and helpless,” Ahmad said.

Some areas in city and its outskirts have no public transport available. On some routes, only Sumo service ferry passengers and no mini-buses are available.

“The unreliability of public transport raises questions over the functioning of concerned authorities,” said Tanveer Ahmad, a commuter.

Some of the areas where no mini-buses are available include Syed Abad Soiteng, Padshahibagh, Lasjan and Dara.

“Our children are studying in various private and public educational institutions located in other areas. Every student has to spend Rs 40 per day on average for travelling in Sumo. The bus fair would only be just Rs 15 to 20 per day on average if mini-buses were available on our route,” said Ghulam Hassan Bhat of Syed Abad Soiteng.

Regional transport officer Kashmir, Iqramulla Tak said that he would look into all these matters.

“I will call transporters to ensure passengers don’t suffer in evening. We will also start mini-bus service in areas where it is not presently available. We are aware around eighty to ninety percent people use public transport in Srinagar,” Tak said.