After shutting down 120 passenger trains and dumping so many engines, Pakistan Railways has launched its first ever Karachi to Lahore nonstop air conditioned train called Pak Business Express. The train is launched in a joint venture with private sector.
Pak Business Express is apparently a VIP train with high class facilities for the passengers in obviously a price which is not affordable by awam at all. Oh! I forgot it is business train not awami train.
I wonder what may be the reason behind the name Business train. Is it for businessmen who travel from Lahore to Karachi or vice versa? Or is it to do business for the Pakistan railway which is in crisis? I guess the former sounds unreasonable as if it is supposed to be for businessmen then they would prefer traveling by air to save another 16 hrs time. So the later argument seems a bit true because Pakistan railways will earn Rs 3.2 million daily from the Business Express.
Pak Business Express is offering amenities like air condition traveling in fix 18 hrs time for a one side trip including meals from a five star hotel, TV, internet and security. The fare for one side is Rs 5000 and for a round trip it is Rs 9000(In a country where basic salary of a person is Rs 7000). The passengers can also avail the facility of special airport kind of waiting room at the station creating discrimination among awam and khawas.
To accommodate Awam in business train now from 5th February the train is offering economy class with reduced fare of Rs 3500 excluding the facilities of TV and meals. A round trip will cost a family of just two persons Rs 18,000 while an average Pakistani family has 4-6 persons. If the whole family has to travel through the Business express it will cost them Rs 20,000-30,000 in Business class and Rs 14,000-21,000 in economy class for one side trip to Lahore or Karachi, for the sake of reaching on time.
Now comparing the fares with Awami trains will give an affordability idea. The Awami trains charge Rs 810-890 in economy class with obviously just offering the seats/berths while Rs 1970-2020 for lower AC class, Rs 2270-3330 for business class and Rs 4260 for AC Sleeper.
So the comparison reveals that if you want to reach on time in a hassle free travel you have to pay for it and if you wish for an uncertain travel without knowing when you will reach your destination you have to pay less and bear more. The choice is all yours!
The train arrives at Karachi station 19 minutes before scheduled time on its inaugural day. If Pak business express can reach on time why not all the other trains can? Pakistan railway’s Awami trains can also offer a pleasant journey to passengers who cannot afford such luxury provided they dare to manage funds and facilities.