- Railways’ Karachi stations do record business of Rs 18.5 million on Feb 2, Rs 19.7 million on Feb 3
The Pakistan Railways has earned Rs 10 million more from Karachi owing to the sudden increase in the number of passengers following the suspension of flights operation of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Today has learnt.
Railway stations across the country, particularly in Karachi, remain flooded with passengers due to halting of PIA’s flights operation as a result of the anti-privatisation protest by the airline’s employees.
“In the first two days of suspension of PIA’s flights operation, we earned Rs 10 million more from our average income,” senior railways official Nasir Naseer said.
“Usually, we make Rs 14 million from Karachi, however we did record business of Rs 18.5 million on February 02 and Rs 19.7 million on February 03,” he added.
“We are expecting more increase in income in the coming days,” Naseer said, adding that “owing to this huge increase in the number of passengers, we have added two coaches to each train.”
He further said that “besides the addition in coaches, we have established two more reservation counters – one each at Karachi city and Karachi Cantt stations – to cater to the needs of passengers”.
Responding to another question, the official said that stern security checks had been put in place at the railway stations for safety of passengers. “Police commandoes both in uniform and plain clothes have been deployed at the railway stations and checking of passengers has also been intensified,” Naseer said.
The reservation counters of both Karachi City and Karachi Cantt railway stations were seen loaded with passengers. Most of the passengers, when interviewed, said they were travelling by train for the first time as they always preferred travelling by planes.
Nevertheless, reservations for the next week have already been made. “We are completely booked now. If you come to reserve a seat today, you will get a ticket for next week,” Railway Mazdoor Union [Open Line] Regional Divisional President Muqaddar Zaman said, adding for the past two days, the air-conditioned sleeper, business class and lower-air-conditioned coaches have left .loaded to their capacity.
Zaman however urged the authorities to decrease railway’s fares, keeping in view the decline in price of petroleum products in the international market to provide relief to the masses.