Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) has announced a strike on July 10th due to an increase of Rs. 20 per KG in compressed natural gas (CNG) price. The transporters met on Wednesday and the association decided to go on strike in the already transport-scarce city. The price of CNG in Sindh is now PKR 123 per kg.
Arshad Bukhari, KTI Secretary said it was improbable for them to drive buses without increasing the fare due to the substantial increase in CNG price. Also, a 5% price hike has been announced by ride-sharing services and from July 1st, the price of train tickets has also been increased by 2.8%.
Mehmood Afridi, KTI Vice Chairman said the Sindh government didn’t allow them to increase their fares when the price of CNG increased by PKR 23. He said,
Now, when the fares are increased by Rs. 20, it has become completely impossible to run our buses.
The vice chairman added that they will only call off the strike if they are allowed to increase the fares substantially, as a minimal increase of a few rupees won’t help them.
Afridi said they want the bus fares to be increased by more than PKR 10 and he described that the provincial government had already bumped up the fee for their route permits and wheel tax. “How can we ply our buses with old fares?” he asked and added that due to the devaluation of the rupee, prices of spare parts of the buses have also risen substantially.
New rates would be suggested by the transporters after calculations. He added that it was unlikely that the Sindh government would listen to them, saying that both the provincial and central government are unwilling to resolve their grievances. The transporters will hold another meeting next Monday where they will discuss whether the strike will continue for a prolonged period or not.