Public transport in Pakistan is one of the safest, cheapest, and most sustainable ways to travel. Pakistan has a variety of public transport networks ranging from buses, coaches, cabs, taxis, and airlines that provide reasonably safe service, however, it is still important to look out for your own safety when using public transport in Pakistan.
This is particularly important for bus and coach passengers, buses and coaches may be safer than other vehicles, but they are still operating in an unpredictable environment, on public roads. Here we will discuss some of the public transport-related risks in Pakistan and will provide tips on how those risks can be reduced.
Pakistan Public Transport
How to Travel Safe in Public Transport in Pakistan?
As a tourist, using the public transportation system in Pakistan can be a great way for a traveler to save money and ‘live like a local’, but it also presents some risk. Before enjoying public transportation in any city of Pakistan, take a moment to consider these important travel safety tips.
1. Look for an Official Badge or Permit
A legitimate taxi driver or bus driver in Pakistan will have a badge displayed, so take a quick look around before you get in and feel free not to get in if you don’t see one. When you do spot a badge, check out the picture and be sure it looks like your driver.
Ask the concierge at your hotel or a local police officer in Pakistan whether the local taxi and bus companies require employees to display badges. They can tell you what to look for.
2. Take Note of Logos and Colors
Take note of the logos and colors of local taxis and buses even if you don’t need one immediately. This will help you spot the ones that are legitimate and those that are fake later. Fake cabs have been used by criminals in Pakistan to part you from your money in several ways. In some regions, fake cabs are used to kidnap tourists.
Know which are the legitimate taxis and buses to avoid getting taken for a dangerous ride.
3. Stay Awake and Alert at All Times
You may be tempted to read a book, check your messages, or take a quick nap on while on public transport in Pakistan, but that’s the perfect way to have your wallet, camera, backpack, and other stuff stolen. Plus, you could end up in a strange place at the end of the bus line with no way to get back if you sleep too long!
Stay awake and alert no matter how tired you are. This is true when you’re in a taxi as well – your driver could be just as dangerous as a common criminal.
4. Keep Close Control Over Your Bags and Packages
Just like at the airport, it’s essential to keep close control over your bags and packages if you are to keep them in your possession. This is especially important if you have several bags or packages, or if everyone on the bus or train has similar bags. It’s easy for a thief to switch out an empty one that looks just like yours when all the bags come from the same retailer.
Bunch your bags between your feet or close on the seat beside you when you’re sitting, and keep hold of them when you’re standing.
5. Know Where You are Going
It’s an easy trap to fall into: you tell the driver where you are going and he or she takes you there, but the driver isn’t responsible for you and could even have their own malicious agenda in mind.
Knowing where you are going in Pakistan by having a map and paying attention to the route will help you protect yourself.
6. Get Off the Bus If It Gets Too Crowded
When people are pressing in all around you, it’s harder for you to watch and protect your belongings. Crowds are not a traveler’s friend – in fact, they can make it far easier for pickpockets and thieves to do their dirty work and escape quickly.
If things are getting too crowded in Pakistan, get off the bus at the next well-lit stop and wait for a less crowded one.
7. Be Wary of Sharing
Sharing a cabin in Pakistan is sometimes a suitable way to save a little money, but sharing a cab with a stranger can leave you in a bad spot. It’s a common scam in some places: you share a cab with a person who leaves behind a little contraband. Soon after, a fake cop stops your taxi and the stuff is discovered. You may be searched, arrested, robbed, or even taken to a fake police station where your identification is swiped and sold over the Internet.
Sharing a cab is fine with a friend Pakistan, but not with strangers, no matter how kind they are.
8. Know How to Call for Emergency Help
Sure, you might know the emergency number in your country but the emergency services numbers in Pakistan may be different. In fact, the emergency and rescue numbers in Pakistan are 1122 nationwide.
Knowing the number to dial can make the difference. If your guidebook doesn’t have it, ask the receptionist at any hotel.
What to Do in Buses, Trains, Taxis, and Rickshaws in Pakistan?
Sit downstairs or close to the driver on a double-decker night bus, where they can see you. Likewise, avoid sitting in an empty carriage on trains.
Always try to avoid sitting in an empty carriage where you are more vulnerable.
3. Taxis and Minicabs
It is very common that people take taxis and minicabs in Pakistan. As a tourist sometimes you might be tempted to jump into a taxi to save time. It is very important that you book taxis from a reputed company.
4. Rickshaws and Pedicabs
These are legal in Pakistan but be careful as some drivers have been known to demand extremely large sums of money for very short rides.
Other Travel Related Tips for Pakistan
Cycles: If you choose to discover Pakistan on a bike, do be extra careful, especially in traffic, and keep your distance from buses and large vehicles, as they may turn suddenly and not see you. And remember that we drive on the left side of the roads in Pakistan.
Walking: Take great care when crossing the road. Always try to cross at marked crossing points and remember to look both ways as traffic, including cycles, maybe coming from a different direction.
At Night: Avoid walking alone in places such as parks and side streets or any unfamiliar environment. If you must walk, then stick to busy places where there is a lot of activity and good lighting.
Whether you are traveling in Pakistan or elsewhere, your seat belt will keep you in your seat if you are involved in a crash, and massively reduce the chance of serious injury and death.
In a crash, you are twice as likely to die if you are not wearing a seat belt. If the vehicle you are in has seat belts fitted, you are required by law to use them. Three-point seat belts offer far greater protection than lap belts, particularly for children.
In Pakistan, most new coaches and minibusses have forward-facing or rearward-facing seat belts fitted.
In Pakistan, passengers aged 14 and over are personally responsible for belting up. The driver is legally responsible for ensuring that younger children are using seat belts or appropriate child restraints. However, as the driver needs to concentrate on the road, Brake advises that a second adult travels in coaches carrying children and takes responsibility for supervising seat belt use, so the driver is not distracted.
Buses Without Seat Belts
In Pakistan, buses that are designed for urban use with standing passengers are not required to have seat belts. It is therefore vital that passengers onboard take care of themselves.
Always sit if a seat is available; if no seats are available, make sure you can reach a handrail to hold on to. If standing, keep a safe distance from the doors and the driver and do not stand on the top deck or stairs on double-deckers. Never lean on the doors or emergency exits as this could cause them to open while the vehicle is moving. When reaching your stop, stay seated until the bus has come to a halt.