Traders decry lack of evening public transport facilities in Srinagar

“This has affected footfall of customers’
Traders decry lack of evening public transport facilities in Srinagar
Representational Pic

Srinagar, Dec 25: Traders have expressed concern over lack of public transport in Srinagar during evening saying this has affected their business.

Farhan Kitab, head of the Kashmir Retailers Association, said the lack of transport in evenings has affected business badly. “During winter when the working hours are already less, the lack of transport has further cut it down by forcing traders to close shops earlier,” he said.

“We have salesmen, other employees, and even owners of business units who don’t own their personal vehicles. When there is lack of public transport, everyone is in hurry to catch cab or bus rather than keeping their business units open. This issue is not only affecting passengers now but has also added to our problem by decreasing footfall of customers during evening hours,” Kitab said.

 The traders said that public transport should be available till the late evening hours so that people can come to their shops after office hours as well.

“During the weekend, there is flea market in city centre areas. The rest of the days are working days where most customers can come only after office hours. As there is no public transport available, they prefer to reach home rather than visit markets. We hope that authorities will press SRTC buses and urge cab operators to function till late evening hours so that this issue will be addressed properly,” said Ajaz Shahdar, president Kashmir Trade Alliance.

The shoppers are also saying that the issue is not only keeping them stranded, but it has also kept them from visiting markets.

“During winter, it is more problematic as there is no availability of transport. Only the shoppers with personal transport can do some shopping while that too is affected as shops close early due to lack of customer footfall due to non-availability of public transport. One has to keep a day off to do necessary shopping,” said Irfan Dar, a customer at Lal Chowk.

MM Shuja, a social activist said that lack of evening transport takes heavy toll on people especially students. “It is heartbreaking to see people including students wait for passenger buses in evenings to reach their respective homes. Authorities must streamline the transport system and ensure that buses ply at least till 8 pm,” he added.

Greater Kashmir did a series of stories on the lack of public transport in evening hours. In a recent conversation with this reporter, a senior traffic police official said they would look into the issue.

“We will meet public transport operators and ensure they follow a particular timetable. We will do everything possible so that the issue is addressed,” he said.

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