PTDC’s new buses for India-Pakistan service causing revenue loss
ISLAMABAD: The government’s controversial decision to purchase four new buses with low capacity for carrying luggage for the Pakistan-India Bus Service has given an edge to India to get a major portion of the revenue, sources told Dawn on Wednesday.
The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) recently bought four 42-seat buses for the service, but these vehicles have inadequate capacity to accommodate the baggage of passengers. On the other hand, the Indian buses have ample luggage-carrying racks.
The sources said the first Lahore-bound bus of the newly-purchased four buses arrived from Delhi on Tuesday, but it carried only 32 passengers instead of its capacity of 42 because the luggage of 32 passengers was more than the available luggage capacity of the buses.
A senior PTDC official, who did not want to be identified, said the corporation had discarded the previous fleet of Hinopak buses which had the extra capacity to carry 600 to 700kg while the Daewoo buses had no capacity to accommodate extra baggage.
Under prescribed rules, every passenger can carry only 20kg of luggage but it is a normal practice that people take extra baggage with them and they pay extra charges to the PTDC.
“Earlier, the PTDC used to earn over Rs10 million in a month in terms of extra charges on extra baggage, but with the low baggage carrying capacity buses the corporation will not only lose revenue but also passengers because they will prefer to travel in Indian buses which are more spacious and have more capacity to accommodate extra luggage,” the official said.
It is normal for the visiting people of the two countries to take gifts, souvenirs etc for relatives and friends when they visit each other’s country.
The PTDC recently purchased four Daewoo buses at cost Rs12.5 million each (total Rs50 million) from Rs100 million grant recently released by the government. However, more spacious buses could have been purchased for the service to cater to the need of passengers.
It has been learnt that the management of the PTDC did not consult the department concerned while purchasing the new buses.
“The decision to purchase new buses was solely made by the managing director of the corporation despite the fact that the manager of the bus service advised him not to buy low-baggage capacity vehicles,” another official of the PTDC claimed.
Several attempts were made by Dawn to contact PTDC Managing Director Chaudhry Kabir and in-charge of the bus service retired Col Khalid, but they were not available to comment on the issue.
Published in Dawn, September 18th , 2014